TOP7 The Best Car Diagnostic Tools: Auto Scanners to Buy in 2018
If you are searching a high quality efficient solution to regularly inspect your car and check how its engine and commutations perform, having a simple multipurpose instrument is exactly what you need. The market is overstuffed with various options priced differently and performing on different levels.
We want to help you to find the best car diagnostic tool auto canner and cross compare several models against each other in order to pick some of the finest options in the market. Depending on the manufacturer and your own goals when it comes to analyzing vehicles, you may be interested in some models more than in others. Let’s dive in our expansive digital car diagnostic tool review covering multiple products.
Table of Contents:
What Is an ODBII Car Diagnostic Tool?
Product Comparison Table: Best Car Diagnostic Tool
- 1. FOXWELL NT301 Car Obd2 Code Scanner Universal Check Engine Light Diagnostic Tool
- 2. ANCEL AD310 Classic Enhanced Universal OBD II Scanner Car Engine
- 3. Car WIFI OBD 2 OBD2 OBDII Scan Tool Foseal Scanner Adapter Check Engine Light Diagnostic
- 4. BlueDriver Bluetooth Professional OBDII Scan Tool for iPhone, iPad & Android
- 5. KOBRA Wireless OBD2 Car Code Reader Scan Tool OBD Scanner
- 6. Car WIFI OBD 2, Wsiiroon Wireless OBD2 Car Code Reader Scan Tool
- 7. Autel AutoLink AL319 OBD2 Scanner Automotive Engine Fault Code Reader CAN Scan Tool
OBDII Scanners F.A.Q.
What Is an ODBII Car Diagnostic Tool?
Autoscanners started appearing in the market long ago, but their popularity was fairly low. Early OBD (on-board diagnostic) systems were unreliable, clunky, and didn’t provide enough incentive for car owners to invest in overpriced portable scanners and interfaces to work with subsystems and regularly repair various systems of the vehicle. OBD I was a big mess with each manufacturer releasing its own scanners that were expensive and unintuitive for users.
OBD II was a significant improvement. An updated interface and standards for the whole industry changed the way car owners started thinking about a good car electronic diagnostic tool, reviews will help to find a good one. Autoscanner became less of a professional tool or a luxury and more of an efficient tool that should be in any car enthusiast’s disposal at any given moment of time. OBD II systems allow users to read all necessary information about subsystems and engines, encode data efficiently, access a wide variety of on-board computers from different manufacturers. Diagnosis process was noticeably improved with the arrival of OBD II.
Interesting Facts about Car Diagnostic Tools
There are several reasons why modern OBD II autoscanners became as popular as they are now. If you don’t know much about portable diagnostic tools and their history, several interesting facts about these products will make your day.
OBD II autoscanners are first interfaces with standardization.
Before, car owners had to buy a new interface for each car. Now, we can simply have one for many vehicles.
You can use your phone.
Before the era of the IoT, we had to use specialized PCs and laptops to access on-board computers. You can use a car diagnostic tool iPhone-compatible.
Modern OBDIII scanners are cheap.
Just a decade ago, you could spend up to $400 on a single scanner. Modern prices are much more competitive and range from $10 to $200.
They come in all shapes and colors.
Some OBD systems allow you to read all possible types of information and some will only give you access to specific subsystems.
OBDII scanners are highly specialized tools.
There are 8 modes of operations in the list of communication protocols that allow you to read various types of data regarding the vehicle.
Testing Methodology and Selected Products
We decided to give each autoscanner a field-test after comparing them to each other and carefully analyzing the list of features of each model. There were certain criteria that we paid close attention to in order to identify products deserving your money. All brands in our selection are reliable and we had no problems with using and testing these devices, but some performed slightly better compared to their competitors.
Testing methods included using scanners to connect to the on-board computer, reading various types of data, checking input/output, and briefly reviewing the overall usability and efficiency. Now that you know how we found out the answer to the question “What is the best car diagnostic tool 2018?”, let’s get busy comparing and reviewing.
The Best Car Diagnostic Kits in the Market
We decided to include 7 most popular and frequently purchased models of autoscanners that will be interesting to our audience. Many drivers prefer to have a convenient and easy-to-use professional car diagnostic tool nearby just in case weird noises or minor malfunctions start occurring.
Product Comparison Table: Best Car Diagnostic Tool
|Has a screen||Yes||Yes||No||No||No||No||Yes|
|Price Range ($)||70-100||30-70||15-40||90-120||15-40||15-40||30-60|
|Supported OBDII standards||US, EU, AS||US, EU, AS||US, EU, AS||US||US||US, EU, AS||US, EU, AS|
|Charges of the OBDII interface||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|BUY NOW AMAZON||BUY NOW AMAZON||BUY NOW AMAZON||BUY NOW AMAZON||BUY NOW AMAZON||BUY NOW AMAZON||BUY NOW AMAZON|
FOXWELL NT301 Car Obd2 Code Scanner Universal Check Engine Light Diagnostic Tool
This is an affordable option but lands on the higher end of the price range. High quality and robust construction ensure that the device will work for a long time and withstand notable wear. A year-warranty also guarantees that you won’t be disappointed in the longevity of your purchase. The device easily reads DTC, I/M, various error codes in US, EU, and Asian cars, as well as cars that have updated new OBD II systems. Foxwell car diagnostic tools are famed for good quality.
- Advantages: reads a wide range of OBD II systems, can be updated, supports a multitude of languages including French, Spanish, and English. 2.8” wide screen allows to read the info effortlessly. Can be charged directly from the OBDII interface of the car.
- Downsides: the construction may seem clunky due to an increased size of the screen, charging the battery from external power sources can be a little bothersome, does not have sufficient features for a professional.
ANCEL AD310 Classic Enhanced Universal OBD II Scanner Car Engine
If you need a budget solution for personal usage, choosing this model is a wise choice. This is undeniably one of the best cheap car diagnostic tools in the whole market. It has a robust construction, looks solid, and works wonderfully for its reasonable price. We thoroughly enjoyed working with this model, but it has some downsides. Every single ANCEL car diagnostic tool looked good yet cheap to us.
- Advantages: simplicity in everything (design, scanning methods, and displaying information), works on a variety of vehicles US, EU, and Asian, supports multiple languages including Dutch, Russian, and French, reads DTC, I/M, and MIL data as well as freeze frame. It has a large display and can work of power from the OBDII interface.
- Downsides: while the shell is robust, we heard some noises from the inside of the device; the device is aimed at novices; does not work from external power sources. It is more of a gift for your friend rather than a device that you would love to have.
Car WIFI OBD 2 OBD2 OBDII Scan Tool Foseal Scanner Adapter Check Engine Light Diagnostic
One of the simplest best car diagnostic tools available in the market, this one is a life saver for drivers who need to have a very cheap yet somehow working device at their disposal. This small guy also works well together with smartphones and looks like one of those really efficient car diagnostic tools, Android-devices will be fully compatible with them.
- Advantages: costs less than $20, works with a variety of OBDII systems, comes with a year-guarantee, reads many error codes and helps to identify malfunctions quickly. All in all, a great portable car diagnostic tool.
- Downsides: a very unreliable construction that looks weak and fragile, does not support many international standards, works with a limited range of manufacturers, has a small screen that does not allow us to see smaller fonts well enough.
BlueDriver Bluetooth Professional OBDII Scan Tool for iPhone, iPad & Android
What is a good car diagnostic tool? It is a device that can be useful to a wide audience of car owners and professionals. At the same time, if you want to have a good portable device that will work your trusty apple phone, you will settle for any option. Luckily, a great Bluetooth car diagnostic tool from BlueDriver is exactly what you need. It works with any Apple device perfectly and allows you to quickly read any necessary diagnostic information with your phone.
- Advantages: has a wireless connection to the reader, works with a multitude of OBDII systems, works well as a handheld tool, allows you to try out suitable fixes from over 6 million fixes created by talented professionals from all over the world.
- Downsides: designed specifically to work with Apple products, does not provide enough versatility for many professionals, works with a lot of OBDII interfaces, but may bug when connected to EU or Asian cars.
KOBRA Wireless OBD2 Car Code Reader Scan Tool OBD Scanner
A very cheap yet easy-to-use and effective digital car diagnostic tool that can be operated wirelessly. It is a great diagnosis instrument that will be a nice addition to the toolkit of any car enthusiast. If you prefer cheaper solutions and still expect moderate quality, make sure that you tried out solutions from KOBRA. It is also a very simple device. If you are learning how to use a car diagnostic tool, you will love this one.
- Advantages: wirelessly operated device, reads over 3000 code definitions, connects to any control device on iOS, Android or Windows, creates a stable WI-FI connection, has a multitude of applications supporting it, can be connected to a plethora of cars produced after 1998.
- Downsides: does not have an in-built screen, has a very fragile construction. It is a very small device that you can easily lose somewhere.
Car WIFI OBD 2, Wsiiroon Wireless OBD2 Car Code Reader Scan Tool
One of the best car diagnostic tools in 2018 due to its price more than anything else. You cannot say that this small device without any additional features is the best possible purchase, but it does its job and helps you to quickly identify problems with your car. You can get this guy for a very low price with some dealers asking less than $15 for it.
- Advantages: works with a very wide variety of cars manufactured after 1996, supports a multitude of OBDII protocols, reads various types of data, does not require excess time to be installed and set up. This is a very cheap solution. Maybe, the cheapest in the market.
- Downsides: it has a very fragile shell and can break easily. The low price comes with a series of inconveniences like the lack of a screen, inability to charge it with an external power source, and many others.
Autel AutoLink AL319 OBD2 Scanner Automotive Engine Fault Code Reader CAN Scan Tool
Very easy to use and moderately priced, this option is certainly one of the best in terms of the balance between the quality and price. If you are searching for a budget solution that will also provide you with enough flexibility, checking out this car diagnostic tool (Autel) is probably a good idea. Made in a robust shell and with a year-warranty, this device is a great instrument for professionals and car enthusiasts alike.
- Advantages: supports various OBDII systems and protocols, works with US and EU cars, reads DTC, I/M data, quickly identifies MIL signatures, retrieves manufacturer codes, and allows for a quick and efficient diagnosis, has a very bright LED display.
- Downsides: may bug when working with cars from Asia, does not have a good online support or intricate applications, may be inconvenient to use for some drivers who prefer more compact wireless devices.
OBDII Scanners F.A.Q.
If you are new to using car diagnostic tools, please consider following our simple tips and tricks.
How to use a diagnostic car tester tool?
Most cars have a special interface right next to the driver under the steering wheel. Modern standards require manufacturer to put those closer to the driver. Just hook your car engine diagnostic tool directly to the interface.
How to turn on?
Most top car diagnostic tools will turn on immediately when engine activity is detected after the device is connected to the on-board computer. You will see either a light indicator working or a screen showing readings.
How to read data?
If the device has a screen, all necessary information can be read directly from it. However, even the best professional car diagnostic tools may not have a screen. Use your smartphone with an application.
Reading car diagnostic tool reviews is just a way to obtain a new point of view and think more about whether you need to focus on quality of saving money. Choosing the right balance between the quality and the price is the key to success when it comes to purchasing highly specialized tools.