Diagnostic car problems is a big headache. It might happen that something goes wrong with your car just before your wonderful vacation trip. The situation becomes more stressful when you don’t know what the real issue is. Car issues arise all of a sudden and spoil the whole day. You can prevent this breakdown of your car by getting the best car diagnostic tool, which allows you to find the car issues in no time. Professional car diagnostic tool will help you get to the bottom of the engine trouble in your car and find its cause. You just need to plug in the car diagnostic scanner, and it will send you a notification about the issues with your vehicle.
These tools offer you a complete diagnostic report by which you get to know the damaged components easily. Moreover, most of the tools work on live data. A basic tool offers reading error codes, checking engine light, and management light features. On the other hand, the high-end tools come with more surprising features. They have digital displays that offer impressive ease and accuracy. Many impressive brands claim to offer the best car diagnostic tool and promise to deliver a superb user experience. We have reviewed the top tools of the sort in this guide that will surely help you to determine which products in the market genuinely live up to their customer expectations.
Best Car Diagnostic Tool Reviews 2020
The OBD car scanners tell you the state of various subsystems of your car. This way, you can have a full diagnostic and troubleshoot car problems. This is no doubt a wonderful investment you can make for your vehicle. The best use of such a scanner is when purchasing used cars. This way, you will get to know if all the systems of that car are functioning properly or not.
The options are various, and this is where an informative buying guide will help you to choose the best one that satisfies your needs. The following tools are the most popular in the market and can truly live up to your expectations. This way, you need not pay the unnecessary amount for your car repair.
Top Car Diagnostic Tool Comparision Table
Size: 4.06 pounds
Dimension: 11.9 x 9.6 x 4.4 inches
Size: 12.63 pounds
Dimension: 7.1 x 10.4 x 10.9 inches
Size: 15.2 ounces
Dimension: 9.1 x 7.2 x 1.1 inches
Size: 16.8 ounces
Dimension:8.7 x 3.1 x 6.7 inches
Size: 1.12 ounces
Dimension: 1.8 x 0.9 x 2 inches
Size: 12 ounces
Dimension: 9.7 x 2.6 x 6.3 inches
Size: 10.4 ounces
Dimension: 6.7 x 6.7 x 2 inches
Size: 12.3 ounces
Dimension: 9 x 6.6 x 1.3 inches
Size: 3.04 ounces
Dimension: 2.8 x 1.5 x 1 inches
Size: 2.4 ounces
Dimension: 1.8 x 0.8 x 1.6 inches
1. Autel AutoLink AL539B: Best OBD2 Code Reader, Avometer, and Battery Tester
This impressive test tool offers a complete diagnosis by supporting all modes of the OBD III test. This tool can not only perform all basic function but also does an additional circuit test. Autel AutoLink AL539B is a superb option for the DIYers and car owners who intend to perform basic functions and check the battery voltage by a corded device. It has a bright color display and a long cable. Moreover, these tools work brilliantly in the check engine light and finding errors.
The tools are ruggedly built and won’t be damaged on any accident. The cable is long, and you can easily plug it into the OBD port of your vehicle. The storage case has a zipper closure that keeps the tool safe. It comes with a manual that explains how to use the tool. It also explains the working of the whole code system. By and large, this is a superbly made cable set. In fact, it is a full car electrical tester.
- The tools come with probes. This way, you can do a starter and charge test on batteries.
- It can read and erase codes.
- It has built-in speakers that offer audible tone for the verification of the readiness.
- Moreover, it can do live data, record the data, and playback too.
- The tool gives the codes and descriptions.
- It can do monitor test, O2 monitor test, and freeze frame data
- The starter test allows you to test the crank voltage. You can do this by placing the probes on the battery.
- The charger test shows the alternator output.
- The circuit test includes testing the AC and DC voltage.
- It can show graph data.
- Brand: Autel
- Model: AutoLink AL539B
- Item Weight: 4.06 pounds
- Package Dimensions: 11.9 x 9.6 x 4.4 inches
Autel AutoLink AL539B - Pros & Cons
- You need not visit google to find about codes as the scanner give you the complete information.
- You can update it with a TF card.
- The easy to use tool doesn’t face connection dropouts. It comes with a one year warranty.
- Doesn’t support wifi or Bluetooth.
- The voltage checking feature work on +-30 volts ranges only.
2. Schumacher SC1308: Best Engine Starter with Advanced Diagnostic Testing
This impressive battery tester has an easy to read digital display. The charger reads the battery charge accurately. This tool gives digital reading while charging. Also, you won’t be overcharging batteries with this superb tool. The handbook explains everything.
The charger has plenty of power and is much easy to use. This tool analyzes your battery and is quite impressive. You need to plug in the tool, and it will do the job. Also, it has a good form of factor and is solidly built. All in all, this excellent product is worth the money.
- It offers advanced diagnostic testing. You can easily diagnose critical problems with this tool.
- It has a digital display, button controls, and LED indicators that offer accuracy and ease.
- It is microprocessor controlled and can automatically adjust the amperage rate.
- The multi-stage charging offers added protection.
- It comes with reverse hook-up protection.
- The float mode monitoring maintains the battery charge to the optimum.
- Brand: Schumacher
- Model: SC1308
- Item Weight: 12.63 pounds
- Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 10.4 x 10.9 inches
Schumacher SC1308 - Pros & Cons
- The tool is easy to hook up and has a decent charging speed.
- You don’t have to hang around watching the charger as it comes with an automatic shut off feature.
- The tool isn’t bulky and has a nice balance. You won’t be confused with the reverse polarity.
- The clamp springs can be better. They seem to a bit flimsy.
- The cable gets warm on charging.
3. ANCEL AD530: Best Top Rated Car Diagnostic Tool
This marvelous scanner is designed for both homes DIYers and professional mechanics. It supports OBD modes. You can check the real-time battery status. Furthermore, it offers lifetime free updates. There is a help button, so you don’t get confused about the complex professional vocabulary. This offers a marvelous user experience.
This tool supports all OBDII protocols. It is also equipped with a TFT true color screen and offers a steady performance. Altogether, this handy device allows you to diagnose the most complex issues with your vehicle.
- This scanner displays live data stream to you in graphs and text form.
- To get accurate repair advice, you can press the ‘i’ button
- It comes with one-click I/M Readiness Key for drive cycle verification and state emission readiness check.
- With this impressive tool, you can easily determine the cause of check engine light.
- You can have a snapshot of the issue with your vehicle by the freeze frame data feature.
- Brand: ANCEL
- Item Weight: 15.2 ounces
- Package Dimensions: 9.1 x 7.2 x 1.1 inches
- Item model number: 13
- Manufacturer Part Number: AD530
ANCEL AD530 - Pros & Cons
- Onboard, monitoring, VIN information, DTC lookup, and real-time battery status in graph form.
- The tool comes with two years manufacturer warranty. Updates are freely available. You can download them and install them.
- It supports 16 languages. This enhances the usability of the tool.
- Typing on the arrow keys is a bit challenging.
- Some customers complained that the instructions to update the device weren’t clear.
4. FOXWELL NT301: Best Professional Enhanced Diagnostic Code Reader
This scanner is not a conventional OBD2 device. It is multilingual and is compatible with a full range of cars. The DTCs definition allows you to read or erase DTC. It has a built-in DTC lookup library that help you the check engine light in your car.
No battery is required to operate it. You need to plug the scanner in your car’s OBD2 port. Then the car’s battery will power it up. Now you can start the vehicle and read the trouble codes. You can also erase the codes, but they will return if the issue remains unfixed. This advanced engine fault sensor is perfect for checking your vehicle engine.
- Emission reading capability
- Allows you to protect the emission system
- Provides you alert for problems. This way you will know about your car’s service and inspection.
- DTC lookup tab by which you can check what the code means
- Provides software update
- Multilingual support
- Built-in test monitor
- Identifies car problems accurately
- Complete OBDII support
- Supports multiple code requests
- It has a red-yellow-green LED and a built-in speaker which helps you read the emission monitor status. You can also read the freeze frame data
- Brand: FOXWELL
- Model: NT301
- Weight: 16.8 ounces
- Dimension: 8.7 x 3.1 x 6.7 inches
- Internet Upadatable: Yes
- Life-long Free Updates: Yes
FOXWELL NT301 - Pros & Cons
- Good looking devices that allow you to see all the engine fault codes, shows live data and offers excellent value for money.
- Well, build housing, elegant design, simple and user-friendly UI, easy to use. 8-inch color screened and clear fault codes
- Easy to update. Offers lifetime free firmware and software updates
- Poor instructions
- TFT display isn’t much bright.
5. OBDLink LX101: Best Automotive Scan Tool
This Bluetooth adapter can quickly turn your smartphone or laptop into a diagnostic tool and a real-time performance monitor. This product is small and unobtrusive. It allows real-time operations of the engine. The installation process is quite easy. Offers the impressive feature of information customization of the dashboard and displays. It provides simple setup and immediate responses. Code reading and clearing is pretty much straightforward. Moreover, the real-time diagnostic display is accessible in an easy to interpret manner.
This lets you enjoy detailed and accurate graphs. Moreover, it delivers 300% more data sample per seconds. It has a battery saver mode. This allows the adapter to remain plugged in constantly without consuming the battery of your vehicle. Furthermore, it has a unique multi-layered security mechanism that eliminates the risk of unauthorized access. This little investment will help you save a lot of bucks.
- The weight of this tool is 34.02 g and its supports all OBD-II protocols.
- The Bluetooth connection has secure 128-bit encryption.
- It allows you to erase the stored diagnostic data
- You can turn off the check engine light
- Has a custom digital dashboard
- Measures the fuel economy
- It has the fastest Bluetooth OBD-II adapter of the world.
- Includes the automatic sleep and wake up
- Provides windows and android app diagnostic software
- Provides free firmware updates
- Allow you to access freeze frame information.
- Compatible with Android, and blackberry
- Free OBDwiz PC software included
- Offers three-year manufacturer warranty
- Brand: OBDLink
- Model: 427201
- Weight: 1.12 ounces
- Dimension: 1.8 x 0.9 x 2 inches
- BatterySaver sleep mode: Yes
OBDLink LX101 - Pros & Cons
- Fastest response time, minimal cost, stable, hackerproof and small form factor device with battery saver technology.
- Comes with pocket-sized adapter and realistic virtual measurements.
- Higher compatibility and stylish app UI.
- Unstable Bluetooth connection in some devices
- It is made from solid plastic which offers a cheap look.
6. Autel AutoLink AL319: Best Automotive Engine Fault Code Reader
This is the unique code reader with built-in speakers and TFT color display. Autolink AL319 provides ease in affordability and allows you to verify repairs, solve fundamental engine problems, and check state emission monitor status. It notifies the driver with its dynamic I/M readiness status, audible time, and color codes LEDs.
The freeze-frame and live data features are impressive for troubleshooting the engine problems. It comes with a nice LED screen. It is much simpler to operate. The one-click I/M readiness key allows to find the vehicle’s condition conveniently. It gets power from your vehicle’s OBD port.
- Its weight is 0.18kg without wires and 0.21 kg with cables.
- Offer one-click I/M readiness key for drive cycle verification and emission readiness check.
- Built-in speaker and bright color-coded LEDs for the audible and visual indication for readiness verification.
- Reliable is predicting manufacturer-specific and generic codes.
- Has the ability to quickly find out the cause of MIL (Malfunction indicator light)
- Turns off MIL, clears codes and reset monitors.
- Allows you to see the DTC definition on the TFT color screen.
- Offers the feature of viewing freeze frame data
- Quite easy to sue
- Updates can be downloaded from the internet
- Brand: Autel
- Model: AL319
- Weight: 12 ounces
- Dimension: 9.7 x 2.6 x 6.3 inches
- BatterySaver Sleep Mode: Yes
- Input Voltage: 12 volts
Autel AutoLink AL319 - Pros & Cons
- Reliable, free lifetime software updates, and user-friendly tool with an amazing handheld unit. Provide you emission ready monitors
- Easy to view code definition. Minimizes scrolling and displays all data at once.
- Multi-language support including English, Deutsch, Espanol, and Francais.
- Updates issues
- The instructions in the manual aren’t much clear.
7. FOXWELL NT201: Best Auto OBD2 Car Diagnostic Scan Tool
Foxwell vehicle diagnose code reader works on standard and CAN domestic and import cars. It has a unique one-click I/M readiness status design that checks the engine good status of the vehicle. The customer service is impressive. You can contact them in case of any issue, and they will fix your queries for sure. The device is well made. It displays you the code and the suggested cost of fixing that issue too.
This is a brilliant product at an affordable price. The tool is quite easy to use. Supports more than ten languages including English, Swedish, Polish, Dutch, Hungarian, German, Spanish, French, Portuguese Italian and many more
It works on all OBD2 vehicles. You can easily update online via the USB cable. Also, it’s reliable and accurate.
- This car diagnose tester reads and erases engine fault codes
- You can check the onscreen DTC definition
- Reset monitors
- Efficiently verifies the cause of check engine light
- Allows you to view freeze frame data.
- You can see the live data in graph and text format.
- It has TFT colorful LCD screen and built-in speakers for audible and visual indications.
- It is more durable because of its unique dust resistant surface.
- It works on a plug and play and gets the power from the OB2 interface.
- Multilingual menu
- It works with all standard and CAN cars
- Allows you to receive vehicle information
- It is an impressive tool to check how your engine is operating.
- Brand: FOXWELL
- Model: NT201
- Weight: 10.4 ounces
- Dimension: 6.7 x 6.7 x 2 inches
- Free Updates: Yes
FOXWELL NT201 - Pros & Cons
- Advanced engine fault sensor. It allows you to check for a more significant number of issues
- Modernized and internet updated, cost-effective and free lifetime updates.
- Big and bright screen. Allow you to view the code definition directly. Dustproof and waterproof. Easy to clean surface and easy to use interface.
- This reader does not work on electric and hybrid cars.
- It doesnt tell the code description.
8. ANCEL AD310: Best Car Diagnostic Tool Overall (Our Top Pick)
Ancel AD310 is the best center around. This is a must-have tool for every car owner. This stand-alone readier is user-friendly. You can also clear the code after reading. It has a large LCD display and is equipped with a 2.5 ft cable. This product comes with a three-year warranty too.
This way, it saves a significant amount of money and time for you. Get this tool now as it undoubtedly one of the top-performing concerning rating. It does a brilliant job in diagnosing the problems related to vehicles and is, therefore, an excellent choice to buy. The product weight is just 300g. It is simple, straightforward, and pretty much easy to use.
- Provides pending codes
- It can also switch off the system to determine what is causing the issue.
- It reset monitors.
- Has the ability to read the real-time data stream.
- Allows you to check I/M readiness and freeze frame.
- You can get your vehicle information by this scanner.
- Also supports controller area network, OBD2 protocols, built-in OBD2 fault, and lookup library.
- The scanner comes with a 2.5 feet cable made up of a solid insulator.
- Brand: ANCEL
- Model: AD310
- Weight: 12.3 ounces
- Dimension: 9 x 6.6 x 1.3 inches
- Input Voltage: 12 volts
ANCEL AD310 - Pros & Cons
- The display is designed in a way that makes the instructions easily decipherable.
- A user-friendly and stand-alone reader with three years warranty.
- Multilingual, fast Scan, classic design, and time saver. Gives the details for the codes. You can also temporarily erase the codes.
- Small printed letters in manual.
- Does not have the ability to diagnose an ABS.
9. BAFX3127: Best Budget Car Diagnostic Tool
BAFX OBD2 reader connects to the vehicle. You can sync this reader with your tablet, phone, or computer to send and receive the real-time data. This way, you can also read and clear the OBD2 engine light. The reader works on almost all vehicles. It allows you to read and remove DTC display. You can also read engine data with this reader. This is a must-have tool for your cars.
Its weight is around 3.2 ounces. The tool comes in a white box with a troubleshooting guide and setup, and a CD. The instructions are pretty much easy to understand. Connect the tool and don’t worry about your vehicle battery going down, as it goes to sleep mode after a while.
- Compatible with all OBDII vehicles.
- Supports all OBD2 protocols
- Allows you to read/clear the check engine light.
- You can check your vehicle monitors.
- The readings that this tool show includes speed, O2 reading, throttle EOTm EGT, fuel trim, and balance rate.
- Identifies diagnostic issues
- Transmits error codes to your phone.
- It can give you information about DPF and RPMs also.
- You can reset the cell with the app
- Offers graph sensor readings
- Brand: BAFX Products
- Model: BAFX3127
- Weight: 3.04 ounces
- Dimension: 2.8 x 1.5 x 1 inches
BAFX3127 - Pros & Cons
- Excellent compatibility. Works with Android and Windows-based devices. Works perfectly with the third-party app. Also backed by the 2-year warranty
- A user-friendly diagnostic tool with outstanding performance. Excellent quality at affordable price. Provides real-time information
- Offers reliable connection and professional-grade diagnostic of your vehicle. Capable of displaying more than 3000 error codes.
- Doesn’t work with iOS devices
- Does not provide support for ABS/SRS codes
10. FIXD OBD-II: Best Active Car Health Monitor & Scan Tool
FIXD OBD-II tool is an excellent product and is much easy to use. This tool clears the check engine light with a single tap of a button. This compact module works through a mobile application. Its weight is 2.08 ounces. It sturdy and is simple and easy to use. Also, it is light and compact. This device can sync data wirelessly to your phone. Moreover, it will alert you in case any issue is detected with your vehicle.
The tool monitors your car’s health. It is designed to work with any vehicle made in 1996 or after that. You can easily get information about your vehicle’s check engine light. It can also reset the light. You can download the app using an Android or an iOS system and then pair with this FIXID uint.
- Diagnose the fault of your vehicles
- Has the ability to explain the generic OBD codes
- Shows live data
- Has freeze frame technology
- Ability to control multiple vehicles
- Reminds overdue maintenance
- Recommends fixes for car problems
- The OBD2 scanner performs the task of translating engine problems into simple English
- Brand: FIXD
- Model Number: 2
- Weight: 2.4 ounces
- Dimension: 1.8 x 0.8 x 1.6 inches
FIXD OBD-II - Pros & Cons
- Compact with brilliant features. Easy to setup. Turns off the check engine light. Informs about maintenance issues
- Inexpensive and friendly tool offers good support, saves money and time and a simple terminology
- Doesnot support windows and mac apps
- No dynamic data
Buyer’s Guide – Things to Consider When Buying the Best Car Diagnostic Tool
There are various models and brand of car diagnostic tools with a considerable difference in the market. This can inevitably lead to some confusion. You need to check the tools to make sure you have got the desired functionalities. Well, buying such devices won’t be any more complicated for you after reading this buying guide. There are several essential things you should be aware of before buying them.
Vehicle Diagnostic Tools Types
There are two main categories of the OBD scanner. These are the diagnostic scan tools and adapters. Diagnosis tool refers to the traditional scanner. Such tools are a stand-alone device and are connected to the OBD port with the help of an OBD connector.
In contrast, the adapters are the dongles. They work with a mobile device. You need first to plug in the dongle to the OBD port. It then shows your desired data in smartphone via Bluetooth or WiFi connection. To use an OBD dongle, you need to install an app first.
Adapters are simple to use, and the main benefit of using them is that you can leave them plugged into the car. They are best for real-time vehicle monitoring.
Diagnostic tools feature a straightforward way. They are sometimes more expensive than dongles.
Well, your choice here is not only dependent on the budget but also on the tools which are more comfortable for you.
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You need to make sure the device you are going to buy is compatible with your vehicle. Some scanners are designed in a way that they cover few brands. In contrast, some are universal and work with almost all variety of vehicle. Thus you need to make sure that the tool covers the model, make and type of your car. You can also get the best mechanic toolset to solve other car issues.
Basic vs. Advanced Functions
The car diagnostic scanners come up with basic and advanced functionalities. Well, there functioning is also dependent on the manufacturer and their compatible apps. You need to consider the functions that you need while buying these tools.
The cost depends on the features of the tools. Make sure you buy the one that doesn’t break your budget.
Almost all diagnostic tools display the engine error codes. Well, some advanced scanners allow you to get more detailed information. Thus before purchasing such tools made a list of your must-have features. So you may know what you are looking for in the device you buy.
It is essential to figure out how to use the tool you are going to buy. First search about the device online and how it works. Make sure its working is not much complicated. Also, get the best mechanic socket set to do the maintenance work of your vehicles easily in garage.
Do checks about the software upgrades of the tool you are going to buy. Also, have a look at the price of update and check if it’s free or paid.
The feature of such tools varies from one model to another model. Higher ned models usually have the best features. Some of the most important features you need to consider are:
- Freeze data
- SRS and ABS functionality
- Real-time data
Popular Brands Offering Best Car Diagnostic Tool
You can tell some useful information about the device by looking at the brand. This is because some brands are famous for their impressive quality, while some are known for their worst products.
Diagnosing car problems was a big headache some times ago. Mechanics had to spend hours in poking around the engine to find the real issue with the automobiles. Well, that much hard work is no longer needed. The wide range of diagnostic tools in the market today will make your work easier. You can get the best car diagnostic tool to have precise information on every issue with your automobile. Also, check out how to deal with a flat bike tire.
Top Rated Car Diagnostic Scanner Tools