In this article, we review OBD2 scanners we use to diagnose and troubleshoot vehicle problems. We start with the inexpensive scanners and end up looking at professional scanners.
Autel MaxiScan MS309
Maxiscan MS300 is a cheap and popular scanner which is very easy to use. Even if you have never used a scanner before. MaxiScan works on 1996 and newer vehicles. It provides support for OBD II and CAN compliant cars. It is able to retrieve the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and determine the correct protocol.
It will read and the clear check engine light or service engine soon. MaxiScan MS309 will display the fault code on the LCD and a short description of the code. Always research the problem. Do not rely on the fault code alone.
- No support for ABS, SRS, Transmission modules
ELM 327 Bluetooth OBD-II Scanners
A Bluetooth OBD-II adapter can pair with your phone and allow you to read and clear fault codes using your smartphone. There are many variations of these Bluetooth adapters including dongles such as Fixd OBD-II Adapter and BAFX Products Bluetooth Scanner.
If you are looking for the cheapest way to read and clear your check engine light, an ELM327 Bluetooth adapter + a free OBD-II app (Android / iPhone) is the way to go.
- Requires a smartphone
- Requires an OBD2 app, free options available
- No support for other modules except Engine Control Unit (Check Engine Light)
Autophix OM126 Scanner
If you are looking robust OBD2 scanner a good choice would be OM126. Not only is it an affordable OBD2 scanner that is easy to use but also offers several amazing features and supports all 1996 and newer vehicles.
- Owners manual needs improvement
- Read/Clear codes related to check engine light only, no support for other systems.
- No support for other modules other than Engine Unit.
Launch Creader VII+ covers most vehicle makes. Works on European, Asian and domestic cars. Provides coverage for four vehicle systems. To learn more about Level 2 scanners read this article: Multi-system OBD2 scanners
- It can diagnose problems from main modules (such as ABS, transmission, airbag) but not all modules on a car.
Foxwell NT624 / N510
Foxwell NT624 provides in-depth vehicle troubleshooting of all systems and works on most makes including American, Asian and European vehicles.
- Menu items mislabeled. Software can be updated.
ArtiDiag 100 OBD2 Scanner
ArtiDiag 100 is a Level 2 Scanner that provides coverage for most makes and is able to read and clear codes from all modules on a vehicle. Watch the demonstration on a Mercedes-Benz S Class.
- While it provides good value it may not be affordable for most DIYers.
Maxidas is a professional level scanner that many repair shops use. While it is more expensive it is without a doubt the best OBD2 scanner in this list. It is easy to navigate even for a beginner.
Not only does it read and clear codes from all modules on vehicles, but is also allow you to perform adaptations and reset various systems.
You can use Autel MaxiDas to carry functions such as reset the steering angle sensor or register the battery. Reset transmission shifting points etc. It offers great value for the money. It still costs more than what most DIYers are willing to spend on a scanner.
- Expensive for DIYers.
- Requires yearly updates to keep up with new models.
- Yearly updates cost money.
BlueDriver OBD2 scanner is another powerful and reasonably priced scanner that you should consider as well. We are working on adding a review of the BlueDriver scanner as well.