The turning on of the Check engine light (CEL) is one of the most irritating elements of owning a vehicle. Although it is sometimes crucial for your vehicle’s safety time and again, you might experience it fluctuating for no reason at all.
An OBD Scanner can help you identify the problem and may end up saving you 10’s if not 100’s of dollars. I have had multiple check engine codes recovering on their own, and I’m sure an OBD scanner would have sufficed for the problem diagnoses.
Many people recognize the device’s convenience the hard way, only after exhausting precious time and money, but you don’t have to. This guide will help you through your purchase of the best OBD2 Scanner in the market, so keep reading!
- Why Best Obd2 Scanner With Live Data Needed
- Compare Top 12 OBD2 Scanners with live data
- Our 12 Picks of best OBD2 Scanners with live data
- 1. BLUEDRIVER OBD2 SCAN TOOL FOR ANDROID AND IPHONE:
- 2. LAUNCH CRP123 OBD2 SCANNER
- 3. ANCEL VEHICLE OBD2 SCANNER fx2000
- 4. FIXD OBD2 SCAN TOOL AND READER:
- 5. AUTEL AUTOLINK OBD2 SCANNER
- 6. BAFX OBD2 CAR SCANNER for android devices:
- 7. FOXWELL OBD2 SCANNER
- 8. OBDLINK MX SCAN TOOL FOR ANDROID AND WINDOWS:
- 9. Ysding OBD2 Scanner Auto Check Car Engine Fault Code Reader
- 10. SEEKONE OBD2 Scanner Professional Car OBD II Scanner
- 11. Foseal OBD2 Code Reader
- 12. AUTOPHIX BMW Diagnostic Scanner Tool
- Things to consider when buying Best Obd2 Scanner
- Frequently Asked Questions
Why Best Obd2 Scanner With Live Data Needed
The market is filled with an obnoxious number of options, and it might be quite daunting for people to choose the right fit for their needs but no need to worry, we’ve taken care of the hard part, i.e., listing out the best!
An obd2 scanner works by connecting to the dashboard computer system of your vehicle and giving you the faulty check engine codes in accordance with the persistent problem.
Recognizing the codes and the problems can save you a trip to the mechanic if you’re a DIY buff while at the same time relieving you of any stress in case the issue requires just a minor tweak to be dealt with.
This is why you should buy the best obd2 scanner with live data to cater to your car’s technical needs.
Handheld obd2 scanners come with their own interface and screen, whereas wireless obd2 scanners must be connected to either your phone or a tablet to access the codes. In the comparison table below, I have mentioned this feature under output transmission. The 2 in the name means that the obd2 scanners will work with any vehicle manufactured after 1996.
I recommend you read the complete guide, but in case you don’t have time to go through each review individually, below is a comparison table where the top 12 OBD2 scanners with live data are listed along with their main differences.
Compare Top 12 OBD2 Scanners with live data
Our 12 Picks of best OBD2 Scanners with live data
Down below, I have explained and listed out our 12 best picks for the OBD2 scanners with live data in 2020. Each description contains a detailed analysis of each device along with pros, cons, and a conclusion to help you choose the best one out there.
Let’s go ahead and see why we chose these scanners as our top picks!
1. BLUEDRIVER OBD2 SCAN TOOL FOR ANDROID AND IPHONE:
Starting off with the best in the business, the BLUDRIVER obd2 scan tool is my top recommendation for anyone who wishes to own a wireless obd2 device! Here’s why.
This tiny little scanner reads check not only engine codes but also the transmission and BCM codes by performing a full analysis of all the sensor readouts.
In laymen terms, it gives you access to information that’s usually only accessible to professional mechanics on their most expensive equipment. So, you can identify problems ranging from a small battery terminal displacement to a major evaporation system leak!
I particularly admire the wide range of diagnostics that this unit offers. A lot of important information such as ABS airbag, climate control, etc. is not covered by a lot of the obd2 scanners out there, providing an only basic output of information.
That’s not the case with the blue driver scan tool. Its error code identification encompasses an ample number of symptoms your car might be facing.
I did however, face a few stumbling blocks when thinking of choosing this as my top pick. Firstly, the machine might not be kind to someone who’s just a weekend mechanic and does not know his way around the CEL error codes.
Its complex extraction of information might only be useful only to people who can identify the problem by a simple look at the error code.
Another major hindrance that I can’t simply look past is the display of wrong data at intervals. I’ve noticed that the device, as fast and easy to use as it is, was sometimes displaying error codes that made no sense at all.
Don’t be intimidated by the fact that only professionals can use the device properly. Who’s to say some simple research of CEL codes won’t solve this issue for you? This is the best pick for anyone wishing to own a handy compact tool and an all-encompassing diagnostic unit!
2. LAUNCH CRP123 OBD2 SCANNER
Another great competitor for the top spot is the LAUNCH OBD2 scanner. While the Blue driver had our heart for the wireless scanners, this one is our top pick for a handheld one!
Accuracy and efficiency are the focal points of this product. I have yet to see a wrong error code identification from this device. Its preciseness is truly worth the applause.
It’s not just a live data viewer; it’s a recorder too! That’s right! You can playback the entire stream of the diagnosis that you’ve just spent a lot of time conducting. This will allow you to review and go back to a DTC reading that you might have missed during the process.
There are also ten different modes of OBD2 diagnostic functions readily available for use with this device. The manufacturer has truly left no stone unturned in terms of veracity.
My reservations with this device are in their place, however. You’ll need to have some know-how of your car’s ins and outs to recognize the exact part that needs replacement. The faulty check engine codes are accurate, but they only point you in the right direction.
Also, the scanner’s functions and limitations could’ve been supplemented with much better documentation. The website does not guide very well and is outdated too.
You can get the hang of this device by watching online videos that explain in detail the complete interface, which takes the second con out of the equation. This is the prime pick in terms of the best obd2 scanners if you’re in the store for handheld devices!
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3. ANCEL VEHICLE OBD2 SCANNER fx2000
If you’ve been looking for obd2 scanners online, the chances are that you’ve come across multiple ANCEL devices already. This brand is no stranger to the OBD SCANNER market, and this is why the FX2000 made its name to our list:
This ANCEL device is another handheld OBD2 scanner that comes with a 4.0-inch TF screen and an intuitive interface with smart buttons for easy handling and usage.
You’ll be surprised to know that the device reads fuel emissions data errors, too, along with the standard SRS and Airbag fault codes. You can proceed for a replacement after checking if your car is ready for it, again, by using this device!
If you plan on checking if your vehicle needs an EVAP system replacement and whether it’s ready for a smog test, no need to fret about going to the workshop, the ANCEL FX2000 has got you covered!
It was quite offsetting, however, to find out that the device only runs and works for vehicles manufactured after 2005. I don’t own a pre-2005 vehicle, but it was still a turn off to see this limitation.
OBD 2 entails vehicles made post-1996, and the device is advertised as OBD 2, all the while it refuses to support all the vehicles manufactured in 9 years’ period of time.
The device refuses to run if you don’t update it, and this is only possible through a pc connection. You can’t do this over the wi-fi; hence the hassle and trouble might persist itself long enough for you to start having second guesses about your purchase.
If you own a post-2005 manufactured vehicle and you’re not too worried about having to plug in the device every time you need to update it, go for this one! The attraction in the extensive number of features in this product is easily recognizable!
4. FIXD OBD2 SCAN TOOL AND READER:
Another strong pick from among the wireless Bluetooth obd2 scanners is the FIXD Scan tool and reader. Here’s what I like about it:
After you’ve plugged the FIXD device into your carport, you can sit back and relax while it checks through the DTCs and gives you continuous monitoring of the well-being of your ride.
Are you the only handyman in your house? Are you worried about your family’s safety when they’re out on the road? No problem! The fixed devices can be connected to give you full readouts of multiple vehicles with live data so you can keep an eye out for the security of all the vehicles in the family!
There’s also mileage detection and the display of maintenance timelines included in the FIXD services. This lets you know when your vehicle is due for service intervals.
You can also pay some extra cash and subscribe to the premium membership of the mobile app, which will give you the added benefit of cost estimations and repairs that are nearest to your location.
I wasn’t quite sold, however, on the application’s interface. It kept bugging out, and the screen kept asking for login details, going in a loop of information extraction instead of providing with the DTC output.
I’m also still hung up on the waste of investment if felt like when even the simplest check engine codes were not being displayed. Don’t fall prey to the low initial price! You won’t get much use out of the app unless you pay for the monthly subscription for getting the complete, accurate output of information.
I know the pros on this device look interesting because of their peculiar nature but keep in mind that a subscription will be needed to avail them all, and even then, you’re not guaranteed full coverage. I’d recommend this as a last resort for anyone up for a little experimenting and exploring new options!
5. AUTEL AUTOLINK OBD2 SCANNER
I gauge my evaluation of products, usually on how well they sell and how effective they prove themselves in the long run. This unit is the number 1 best seller on multiple stores both online and in the supermarkets!
Best suited for the weekend mechanic, this device will generically pinpoint some of the most crucial error codes that might be the root cause of your lit up CEL.
The I/M readiness of this device allows for the analysis of the emissions system, which can also let you know whether your ride is ready for a smog test.
Unlike some of the other scanners, this device is plug & play ready, which means you can directly hook it up to your vehicle’s obd2 port, and it’ll run as smooth as silk!
I do, however, feel like they should’ve added the support for ABS and SRS systems. Exclusion of this feature from wireless devices would make sense but not from handheld devices like this one.
As I’ve mentioned above, the device is best suited for the DIYers, which means some of the more complex DTCs are not covered by this device. It provides directions from the problem to the cause but does so rather non-exclusively.
I wouldn’t recommend this unit to mechanics due to its nonspecific DTC generation, but it’s a must-have if you’re someone who can handle his own when he must deal with his vehicle’s diagnosis and treatment! It’s easy to use interface, and accurate results have made it the number 1 best seller out there!
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6. BAFX OBD2 CAR SCANNER for android devices:
Presenting you with another wireless upshot, the BAFX OBD2 scanner with live data! Without further delay, let’s get started!
Just like any other wireless obd2 scanner, you plug this one in, and you’re good to go for a quick diagnosis and analysis of your CEL error codes.
The device links via Bluetooth to your android devices and gives you a quick and reliable identification of your car problems.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that this device contains the smog check and freeze frame capability, too, since literally, every scanner needs at least these two qualities to qualify itself for consideration in the market.
But there’s a subtle contradiction in the advertising of this product. It says that it’s compatible with all foreign cars at the same time, stating that it will work well with cars purchased in the US after 1996. Confusing right?
One can always go for the benefit of the doubt, but experience does not lie. The device does not work well with vehicles not sold in the US, although it’s broadcasted as an international device!
The BFX scanner does what it’s supposed to, and although they’ve made it clear that it won’t run on Apple devices, it’s a huge let down for people looking for wireless obd2 scanners since almost half the population is excluded from the audience when the device is made android specific. Go for this if you have an android device though, the test results are accurate and quick!
7. FOXWELL OBD2 SCANNER
This is the first obd2 scanner on our list that is mechanically intensive to look at. Let’s see what makes it special!
My favorite distinctive feature of this device was the graphing tool that it has on its screen. Its fluctuations gave a look at the hi-tech aspect of DTC reading by a simple look at the graphical ups and downs.
With I/M ready emission tests and vehicle VIN number in conjunction with the bad O2 sensor location, the FOXWELL scanner packs an unmitigated deal!
There is no additional battery requirement for running this device, either. You simply plug it in the 16-pin DLC of your vehicle, and it will run on the 12-volt battery your car will inevitably provide.
I really liked the in-built speaker function that indicates the readiness status of your emission test.
There aren’t any options for the ABS, SRS tests in the NT301, though, which stupefied me a bit. The technicalities of this device’s operation really called for an all-out DTC diagnosis, which seems to be missing.
The difficulty of use is not something I would usually count as a drawback for obd2 scanners, but this one is definitely not recommended for someone who is not yet familiar with the CEL and its DTCs.
I know the operation difficulty tends to be scary sometimes, but you won’t find a better alternative with as wide a range of DTC coverage as this device. It should be pretty simple once you’ve gone through a couple of tests and have watched a few online tutorials. It’s an elite pick for both the mechanics and garage repair makers at home alike!
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8. OBDLINK MX SCAN TOOL FOR ANDROID AND WINDOWS:
Coming in at a slightly higher price but trading it off with an exceptional speed of live data retrieval, the OBDLINK MX scan tool is the quickest one out there!
You can say goodbye to lagging or pending error codes as this will not only ensure exposure of hidden DTCs but also secure your connection from third-party apps.
This is the only scanner I’ve come across that has over-voltage protection. I’m sometimes paranoid about my battery being drained due to external device connections in the vehicle, so this device immediately had my attention!
I’ve observed that the device can also be used to see if someone has reset the OBD to hide persistent problems. This just addresses security concerns that dealers might have from their clients.
Once again, I will deduct a point for the device not being able to connect with the apple devices as it alienates half the audience, no questions asked.
They’ve also advertised not having in-app purchases ever, but that’s exactly what they’ve introduced in the latest updates. This is a question mark on the integrity that the manufacturer may want to take a look at.
You can opt for the OBDLINK MX’s wi-fi version if you wish to connect an Apple device. You can always look past the in-app purchase ads. For the fastest data retrieval in the market, it’s a smile price to pay, I’d say! Get this device if you go to auctions often or if you own a dealership as you won’t find a more secure diagnostic tool than this one!
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9. Ysding OBD2 Scanner Auto Check Car Engine Fault Code Reader
One of the most compact in terms of handling, and massive in terms of diagnosis is the YSDING OBD2 scanner.
Traditionally starting with the feature that’s exclusive to just this device, I was astounded that they managed to integrate a battery tester in this diagnostic tool! Battery testers are an entirely separate investment, and checking the battery condition off the list before you proceed to the faulty error codes really comes in handy.
There’s a built-in library with the device too. You just have to click on the code, and it’ll show you the meaning, no need to search online for the problem!
There’s also a 2.5 feet cable, which means it’s convenient to use this device on trucks and other larger vehicles.
Code readings for this device include both the generic codes as well as the manufacturer specific codes.
The device is however, really old and will not work with all the post-2009 cars with the data connectors. It has an old-style USB connector, so you’ll have to find compatibility solutions online.
I noticed the interface to be a little old-school, and the English displayed didn’t make sense half the time. Although the library is included, you might not be able to decode what’s written. Just google the code, and you’re set!
If you can find compatibility of connection and if you can deal with the hassle of googling every error code, I don’t see why one would be skeptical about getting this all-inclusive device! Go ahead and make the purchase!
10. SEEKONE OBD2 Scanner Professional Car OBD II Scanner
This handheld OBD2 scanner distinguishes itself from other competitors in that it’s update feature is life-time free. Hence you don’t have to worry about memberships for exclusive features.
There’s hardly anything missing from this pick. This is a bit unreal, but it’s true! The list of features just keeps going!
From I/M readiness to DTC library to a 5-foot-long cable. I couldn’t find another scanner with such a versatile set of abilities. You can store and print the results right away, or you can record and view them later. Your call!
The cherry on top, this too comes with a battery tester, and its results are even better than the one incorporated in the YSDING OBD2 scanner.
But nothing’s perfect, and neither is this device. It’s missing the non-obd2 parameters offered by a lot of other scanners, such as the ABS and SRS transmissions.
The wrong results are a pain to deal with when it comes to obd2 scanners, and that’s something that the SEEKONE OBD2 struggles with. Multiple readings are sometimes needed for a proper DTC rendering the device unreliable sometimes.
This device is going to work just fine more often than not. If you don’t mind taking a few more readings than usual to get to the root of the problem, go for this device and let us know how it goes!
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11. Foseal OBD2 Code Reader
I wish I had come across this device when I was facing issues with the fan belt of my vehicle. I had to go to the mechanic, but it wouldn’t have been so if I had this code reader!
It provides the most accurate results with real-time curvatures of your engine’s performance as a whole. Not just the part that’s faulty.
This allows you to distinguish major faults from the minor ones. The device has a 2.8-inch LED display, which gives you clear DTC readings.
The 2.5 ft wire length allows for easy access from the DLC port to the driver seat. You don’t need to hunch forward in your seat to use it.
There’s a library incorporated in this one too, so you can identify the problem in accordance with the code without having to look things up every 30-seconds. There’s also the engine coolant temperature reading feature, and that goes side by side with the car speed-curve graphing.
Just like the SEEKONE, I found that the FOSEAL has a somewhat funny translation of the 6-languages that this device comes with. It’s full of typos.
A prime example of old is gold; this device offers what it says on the box! Nothing better than a manufacturer being true to their word. This device is recommended for anyone who likes to operate the obd2 tech the old-school way!
12. AUTOPHIX BMW Diagnostic Scanner Tool
This handheld device is one of its kind rendition in the obd2 market. Being one of the few devices that come with the ABS/SRS transmission test, this one has won me over too.
You don’t have to dig deep to realize that this device basically just complements its previous version into providing simply any feature you can expect from an OBD2 scanner.
It goes one step further into efficiency by displaying battery health, or information regarding oil light/service reset. You can’t miss out on this one if you’re trying different scanner in the market.
Super-fast CPU read provides accurate real-time live data regarding your DTCs.
However, I find the device unable to clear adaptations or register the battery performance as it says in the advertisement that it would. For people who’ll buy the device for simply this function, it’s essentially going to be rendered useless for them.
If you own a post-1998 vehicle and need a device to make you feel like a mechanic at home, the AUTOPHIX Enhanced will do the job for you. Fast and reliable, this device is recommended for use both at home and inside the workshop!
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Things to consider when buying Best Obd2 Scanner
A larger influx of people is moving towards repairing their vehicles at home every day. It’s mainly because of the information access over the internet and online resources with tutorials that the people are becoming exponentially independent when it comes to repairing vehicles.
It’s hence absolutely detrimental that you make the right choice, so you don’t end up exhausting your wallet for anything! Keep in mind the following main factors before you go out in search of an obd2 scanner.
Be clear on whether you want a handheld or a wireless device. You don’t have to be a mechanic to own a handheld device if you like doing your own repairs. At the same time, you can get the wireless obd2 scanners even if you need it for your workshop.
ABS/SRS Reset feature:
These are some of the key issues that usually need more attention than others. Few obd2 scanners have this feature even among the list that we’ve compiled, but a lot of them don’t. So see if you want to invest in the ones that do.
You should see your car listed in the product description of the website where you’re going to decide to buy it. If you don’t, don’t make the final call until you’ve confirmed with the seller that the particular device is compatible with your vehicle.
Operation and Usage
Choose your difficulty in accordance with your ability. Make sure you don’t buy a device that’s too fancy compared to your needs when you could’ve settled for a cheaper and more viable alternative. While keeping in mind that you don’t buy a device that’s going to fill just one of the needs you have among the many features it entails. It’s better to buy a separate device than to put all your eggs in one basket.
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Frequently Asked Questions
I’ve tried to elaborate upon as much information regarding the products as I could, but there is a high chance that you might still have a question in mind. No need to be concerned, I have listed out 10 of the most frequently asked questions along with their answers below.
1. What does an obd2 scanner do?
The obd2 scanner connects to the DLC of your vehicle and looks for error codes that result from a fault in your engine. These error codes are generated in the form of DTCs (Diagnostic test codes).
2. What should I do if my Bluetooth can’t connect to the scanner?
You can’t connect the multimedia Bluetooth of your vehicle to your obd2 scanner. You have to plug it into the DLC port specified for this purpose.
3. Where is the connector for the obd2 scanner located in my vehicle?
The connectors are usually located below the dash near the driver’s seat. There’s a chance that they might be concealed near the ashtrays or the cup holders depending on your vehicle and its model number.
4. How do I update my scanner software?
Most OBD2 scanners come updated, but those that require updates have a link mentioned on their instruction and user manuals. You can follow that link to update your device.
5. Can I print my diagnostic data on a sheet?
Yes. For most OBD2 scanners, the printing of live data along with recorded data is readily available. Some devices may allow direct connection to printers without having to transfer files in the pc.
6. Will an obd2 scanner harm my vehicle if left plugged in?
No. OBD2 scanners are harmless to your vehicle, and it’s batteries, and you can leave them in as long as you like.
7. How do I know that my OBD2 scanner is working correctly?
After you’ve run the diagnostics, make the appropriate replacements in the vehicle parts. The check engine light should turn off, and vehicle performance should improve. If the problem persists, this means that the diagnostic was wrong and the device is not working correctly.
8. Should I clear pending DTCs on the obd2 scanner right away?
No. It is recommended that you get the parts corresponding to the codes fixed before clearing the pending DTCs of your engine.
9. What kind of problems does and obd2 scanner diagnose?
An obd2 scanner covers literally the entire spectrum of things that could go wrong with your engine. Even the abs/srs or emissions systems. They usually leave no stone unturned.
10. How do I know if my vehicle is compatible with the obd2, I am buying?
Most OBD2 scanners are compatible with vehicles manufactured after 1996, with onboard diagnostics installed. You can double-check your particular compatibility by contacting the seller.
An OBD2 scanner purchase is just the first step in solving the problem you might be encountering. Make sure you make the right repairs before deciding on a verdict for an obd2 device. The right device and its reliable results are bound to save you precious time and money, and the investment is definitely worth it. So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and get your obd2 scanner today. Best of luck with your purchase!
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