12 Best Automotive Scan Tools (for Home and Professional Use)

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Sometimes you just want to know what’s wrong with your car without having to go to the dealership or repair shop and paying their ridiculous diagnostics fee.

What most people don’t realize is that a good scan tool is actually easy to use and doesn’t have to be expensive (many pay for themselves after just one use).

Here are our favorite automotive scan tools (most of which we’ve personally used), broken down by models for “home use” and “professional use.”

Skip to >> Best Professional Diagnostic Scanners

Best Automotive Scan Tools for Home Use

Not everyone needs the most comprehensive scan tool available with super advanced features only an ASE-certified tech would need. Whether you’re a DIY mechanic or looking to troubleshoot a few vehicles to make a few bucks on the side, these are the scan tools you’re looking for.

#1 – Autel Scanner MaxiCOM MK808S OBD2 Scanner

best OBD2 scannerIf you’re looking for a scan tool that can do it all, then the Autel MK808S is the perfect scan tool for you. Now with bi-directional control, it’s one of the most cost-effective scan tools out there. It works with 150+ different car makes and models. Not only will it read all engine, PCM, TCM, ABS codes, and more, but it has multiple other functions that display live data as you troubleshoot.

Furthermore, this Autel scanner provides detailed reports that let you know the most likely cause of a problem. Even better, it has over 28 of the most popular service functions that make it easier than ever to repair vehicles.

These features include ABS bleeding, battery registration, oil resets, injector coding, and so much more. While the price for this Autel scanner is on the higher side for an at-home scan tool, the extra features that it comes with more than makes up for the added cost.

The Autel MaxiCOM MK808S also comes with a 1-year warranty and 24/7 customer support. However, the yearly updates to add new vehicles and download the latest troubleshooting guidance costs just under $125. However, you don’t need to purchase these updates to continue to use all of the same features you’ve been using all year! Software updates are now included free of charge.

If you’re looking for an all-in-one scan tool that will put everything else in your garage to shame, this is what you want.

#2 – Innova 5610 Bidirectional Scan Tool

Innova 5610 scan toolWe recently had the opportunity to test out Innova’s 5610 and came away impressed. The scan tool combines bidirectional controls, Bluetooth connectivity, and a robust feature set along with an easy-to-use interface, making it a good choice for home mechanics and some professionals.

One of the first things we noticed was how quickly the 5610 scans for codes, which is the main use of these tools. On two vehicles, a complete diagnostic scan was done in about 50-55 seconds. This was faster than almost all other tools we’ve tried in this price range, some almost a minute slower.

We like that it connects via Bluetooth to a free Innova app, RepairSolutions 2 (Google Play or Apple Store) on your phone so you can use both the scan tool’s screen and your phone screen to get more detailed information about a specific DTC that was picked up by the tool. You’ll get free software updates and never have to deal with subscription costs.

While it’s not going to have the same level of bidirectional (active) tests that can be performed with professional level tools, you’re only spending a fraction of their cost. But for a large majority of users, you’ll get all the diagnostic features you’ll need.

If you need any help, the California-based ASE-certified customer support that Innova offers is a breath of fresh air compared to how other brands outsource.

While we wish some type of storage case was included (like the Autel MaxiCOM MK808S’s hard case above), that would undoubtedly increase the cost of the tool.

Still, its features, build quality, ease-of-use, and price point make the Innova 5610 one of our favorites and some could argue it should be at the top of our list.

#3 – LAUNCH CRP129E OBD2 Scan Tool

automotive scan tool reviewsIt’s a more affordable version of the Autel scanner above. While it has many of the same features, it doesn’t work with quite as many vehicles. That’s not to say it’s lacking, though. It works with more than 57 car brands and over 10,000 different vehicle types.

Furthermore, it comes with live data tracking for up to 10 different data streams simultaneously. Moreover, it comes with multiple maintenance features from oil resets, TPMS resets, battery voltage tests, steering angle calibration tools, and more!

The Launch CRP129E supports nine different languages and has free lifetime updates! When you buy this scanner, you won’t have to spend another penny to keep it working with the newest vehicles coming into the shop.

Of course, this scanner reads the engine, TCM, PCM, ABS codes, and everything else your vehicle could throw at you.

While the comprehensive features, free lifetime updates, and lower upfront cost are great, what really sets this scanner apart is the comprehensive 5-year warranty that it comes with. Make this the last scan tool you need to spend a dime on.

#4 – Autel ML629 OBD2 Scanner

Autel ML629 reviewThis Autel scanner is a much more lower-end option than the first one that we reviewed. While it comes with a much lower price tag, it also comes with far fewer features.

It works with any OBD2 vehicle, and it can pull codes and data in just a few seconds. Whether you’re looking for your current emissions or you’re troubleshooting a pesky ABS or SRS light, this scan tool can help you get the job done.

Despite its limited functionality beyond code reading, the Autel ML629 scanner does give you the ability to live stream from select input options. It’s not as comprehensive as their top model, but at a fraction of the price, it’s still a great deal. Even better, unlike their top model, the ML629 scanner comes with free updates for life!

Finally, this scan tool comes with a 1-year warranty giving you a little extra peace of mind that you’re getting a quality product.

#5 – BlueDriver Bluetooth OBDII Scan Tool

best automotive scan toolThe world has moved to mobile devices; why shouldn’t your scan tool? While this OBD2 scanner doesn’t look like much on the surface, when you pair it with their mobile app, you get a comprehensive vehicle diagnostic tool that can help you fix any vehicle.

It works great with both Apple and Android smartphones and tablets, but if you have an older phone that can’t handle the app, you’re out of luck.

Not only does this comprehensive scan tool give you your engine code, but it also connects you to an extensive database that automatically generates repair reports to help you fix your vehicle.

With the BlueDriver, you get free app updates, the ability to screenshot and save data easily, and the ability to interact with live data graphs to help break down the problem.

The best part about this forward-thinking scan tool is that it’s significantly cheaper than some other models out there.

#6 – OBDeleven Pro Diagnostic Scan Tool 

best scan tool for Audi or Volkswagen

If you drive a Volkswagen, or any other VAG (Audi, Seat, Škoda, etc.) vehicle and love doing repairs yourself, the OBDeleven PRO Pack should be at the top of your list for a scan tool. 

This Bluetooth diagnostics tool has many advanced features fit for professionals, but it’s small, easy-to-use, no matter your skill level. You can easily diagnose car computers and customize vehicle comfort features.

This tool is compatible with Android, iOS, and Harmony mobile devices and provides an in-depth list of functions. The OBDeleven is capable of accessing a wide array of vehicle DTCs and offers the ability to perform a number of diagnostic tests.

Tech-savy users will find the OBDeleven PRO Pack useful when attempting to validate repairs and relearn certain automated vehicle functions. This unit also allows users to access numerous dealer specific menus where you can customize your vehicle’s default settings (which isn’t possible with other diagnostic scan tools).

It’s an excellent tool if you have a Volkswagen Group (VAG). For other car brands, OBDeleven also offers a standard edition which is less feature-rich but has the same diagnostic and feature customization capabilities.

In addition, the tool now covers most BMW series* including E (from 2008), F, G, and I as well as MINI (F-series) and select Rolls-Royce models.

* The chassis code page at Turner Motorsport will show you which series each BMW model falls under.

#7 – ANCEL FX2000 Vehicle OBD2 Scanner

top rated OBD2 scan toolThis scan tool provides tons of great features for a fraction of the cost of some of the more expensive scan tool models out there. The tradeoff is that it doesn’t cover as many vehicles.

While it covers any post-1996 US-made vehicle, it only covers vehicles produced after 2002 from the EU and 2005 from Asian countries. It does support eight different languages, and if you’re only using it on newer vehicles, it will do everything you could want and more.

It reads engine, ABS, SRS, and PCM codes and lives streams data from each of these symptoms to help you troubleshoot the problem. Additionally, it can run emission tests on your vehicle to help you pass smog or emission tests.

Not only do you get a great deal on the scan tool up front, but with free lifetime updates, they aren’t nickel and diming you down the road either.

While the Ancel FX2000 only works on some vehicles after 1996, it will still read basic engine codes for any vehicle with an OBD2 system. However, you will not be able to utilize live data streaming or other advanced features.

#8 – Autel AutoLink AL319 OBD2 Scanner

Autel AL319 reviewIf you’re looking for a low-end scan tool that can read your engine codes and freeze frame limited data, this might be what you’re looking for. It’s a 10th of the price of the top Autel scanner we looked at, but it also has a 10th of the features.

It only reads check engine codes and won’t give you any troubleshooting advice beyond the code name and description. But if you’re a competent mechanic and don’t mind scrubbing a few forums for more complex issues, then this OBD2 scanner will be more than enough to get you started.

This scan tool works with all vehicles made in the United States after 1996. For European vehicles, it works with vehicles produced after 2000. If the vehicle has an OBD2 system, this scan tool will work at reading the codes.

Finally, the Autel AL319 scanner comes with a 1-year warranty, but most simple scan tools like this last much longer.

See Also: What Does a $7e8 Code Mean?

#9 – Actron CP9680 OBD2 AutoScanner

Actron CP9690 reviewWhile we focused our efforts on OBD2 scanners for these reviews, that doesn’t mean we don’t recognize that older vehicles have codes too. Standardized OBD2 codes didn’t become mandatory until 1996 before that OBD1 was the standard.

This scanner reads both OBD1 codes for GM, Ford, Chrysler, and Toyotas. From there, it reads codes for all newer OBD2 vehicles.

While this scanner looks simple, don’t let that fool you about what it can do. Just like the fancier looking scan tools, this scan tool can display live data from over 300 different sensors and inputs throughout your vehicle.

Furthermore, you can freeze frame data to take the extra time to pull all the information you need to troubleshoot a vehicle properly. The Actron CP9680 easy to use, does everything you could ask for, and doesn’t cost a bundle.

If you’re working on older vehicles in addition to newer ones, you want a scan tool that can handle it all – this one can.

Best Professional Car Diagnostic Tools

If you’re working in a shop, you need a scan tool jam-packed with features. That’s precisely what these scan tools provide.

#1 – Autel MaxiCOM MK908 Bi-Directional Diagnostic Scan Tool

best professional automotive scan toolThe Autel MK908 is a top-of-the-line scan tool that does everything you could ever dream of. This bi-directional diagnostic tool works with over 80 different vehicle models, reads every code available, and performs a wide array of maintenance functions.

Whether you’re looking for a standard engine code or need to read a BCM, PDM, EPS, or any other vehicle module, this scan tool can handle it. It provides maintenance functions for ABS bleeding, pump testing, engine oil resets, and so much more.

Moreover, it gives you the ability to live stream data from various sensors and freeze-frame that data for easier troubleshooting.

The Autel MaxiCOM MK908 works wirelessly from up to 755 feet away. Whether you’re working on the other side of the shop or in the driver’s seat, this scan tool can handle it. The biggest drawback to this scan tool is the upfront cost. But if you need a professional level scan tool, you can’t go wrong with this one.

Finally, like all Autel scan tools, this one comes with a 1-year warranty, but you will need to purchase yearly updates to keep this scan tool up to date with all the newest vehicles.

#2 – Launch X431 V+ Pro Elite Bi-Directional Scanner

Launch professional diagnostic scannerThis professional-quality OBD2 diagnostic scanner comes with everything you need to troubleshoot and repair every code that a vehicle can throw at you. As an added perk, it comes loaded with over 24 languages, so no matter where you are in the world, this scan tool can break everything down for you.

Like all the best professional scan tools, this Launch model comes with active testing capabilities and bi-directional data. This means you run ABS bleeding, gear resets, injector coding, and so much more with the touch of your finger!

While this scan tool is more expensive than the DIY options, it does everything an $8,000 Snap-On scan tool does for a fraction of the cost.

The Launch X431 V+ works with over 10,000 different vehicles and comes with one of the industry’s best warranties – a five-year comprehensive warranty. No more worrying if this scan tool is going to make it through the first couple of years!

#3 – Autel MaxiPRO MP808S Professional Diagnostic Scan Tool

Autel MP808K reviewIt’s the most affordable professional-level scan tool that we found. While it’s still more expensive than the home mechanic options, it’s because it comes packed with more features.

The Autel MP808S can read any code that your vehicle throws at you and works with 99% of vehicles out there. You can check Autel’s vehicle coverage tool to confirm your car is covered. Additionally, it comes with tons of features that any professional shop needs. From key programming to ABS bleeding, this scan tool does it all.

Previously, Autel required a paid subscription to update the software with new models and features. But now, updates are free of charge to be more in line with the competition.

This diagnostic scanners comes with a 1-year warranty, so you don’t have to worry about getting a dud out of the box. Bang for the buck, it’s hard to beat the Autel MP808S.

OBD2 Scan Tool Buying Guide

Finding the perfect OBD2 scanner for your vehicle can seem like a daunting task, and if you don’t know where to start, it can be. Luckily for you, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to find the perfect scan tool for you.

Double Check Compatibility

The most important thing you want to verify when buying a scan tool for your vehicle is that it will work with your car. While most modern vehicles utilize an OBD2 system, some older vehicles use OBD1.

Take the little extra time to verify what your vehicle has and if the scan tool you’re purchasing will work on it.

How Much Do You Know?

If you’re looking at getting a cheap and simple code reader but don’t know a thing about mechanics, it likely won’t do you any good. On the other hand, some of the more expensive scan tools come with troubleshooting tips and advice from actual mechanics that can steer you in the right direction.

If you’re looking at purchasing a scan tool to save a little money at the repair shop, make sure you’re getting a tool that lets you accomplish those goals!

See Also: Top 8 GPS Tracking Devices for Cars

Frequently Asked Questions

We know there are tons of questions surrounding scan tools. That’s why we answered some of the most common questions below to clear up any confusion!

What Can an OBD2 Scanner Do?

Basic OBD2 scanners only read engine codes. However, many scan tools come with OBD2 scanners built right in. That’s why almost every OBD2 scanner out there has more features than a simple code reader.

Read Also: DTC P1000 (OBD System Readiness Test)

Do I Need a Code Reader or a Scan Tool?

While the two tools are often confused with each other. Scan tools provide much more information and data than a code reader. Code readers provide you with the basic code, but they don’t give you anything else.

Scan tools on the other hand, provide a wide array of functions. They tell you the code, break down what the code means, provide live data streams, and often break down the most common cause of the code and how to fix it.

If you’re a competent mechanic and know how to troubleshoot different codes than a code reader might be all you need. But a scan tool speeds up the process and ensures even the most competent mechanic that they’re replacing or repairing the right part the first time.

Why Do Automotive Scan Tool Prices Vary So Much?

There are three main reasons that automotive scan tool prices vary so much: the scan tool brand, how many vehicles the scan tool works on, and the number of features on the scan tool.

The manufacturer is one of the biggest factors that determine the price of a scan tool. That’s why Snap-On scan tools can cost close to $10,000, but they don’t offer any more features or work on any more vehicles than most 1,000 dollar scan tools. Certain brands simply have a premium.

While other Snap-On tools may be worth their price, we’ve found some (namely Autel and Launch) pro diagnostic tools are just as good or very close to it.

From there, many scan tools only work on a select number of vehicles. If they don’t work on pre-OBD2 vehicles they’re often cheaper than those that only work on newer cars.

Furthermore, many scan tools offer diagnostic troubleshooting, wireless features, brake breed assist, and so much more. The more features a scan tool comes with the higher the price tag.

Are Car Diagnostic Scanners Universal?

Yes and no. While any OBD2 scanner can read engine codes on a vehicle with OBD2, that’s where the universal functions stop. The diagnostic advice, maintenance features, and everything else only works on specific vehicles depending on the tool – even if it has OBD2.

Adam Mann


  1. Hi there, I hope this thread is still open. Just wondering what your thoughts are about this new vehicle scanner called Fixed? Honestly it seems to good to be true, and I don’t want to purchase it without some field knowledge. If you could help that’d be great, much appreciated! Take care!

  2. Hi Adam! I just wanted to confirm, the updates for Autel MaxiCOM MK808S will be free for lifetime? Thanks!

    1. I would double check with the manufacturer to be sure before you purchase. Policies and deals on tools are changing all the time.

  3. So what you want is realistically anything that goes beyond OBD2.
    At least it should include common fault-causing systems like engine, ABS, SRS. Ideally you also want to be able to code EGR and injectors (should you need to replace them).
    I discovered that the commonly needed feature of resetting of oil service lights is usually not available in cheaper devices (a marketing strategy!).

    So the competitors are somewhere between Launch X431 / anything higher than CRP123, Autel NT650, iAuto702 Pro and I wonder how Foxwell NT624 fits in.

    I’d love to see a tabulatory comparison but that’d be a year’s work with all the different devices out there (and sellers’ descriptions mixing functions together).

    I’m tempted between iAuto Pro and x431 (with the latter having a much better coverage as it seems but not sure what their update policy is).

    1. Many cars outline a procedure in the owner’s manual to reset oil service lights yourself, and probably won’t require an advanced scan tool to do it. Agreed, that would be a great comparison.

  4. check the price of the scan tool updates and some updates you have to pay yearly to use the tool its ridiculous, why would you pay 500 a year to use a scan tool you already paid for

    1. It is done that way in order to keep the information current. Much of the value of those high end scan tools is in the OEM diagnostic data they provide you, and not just the features of the tool itself.

  5. i want to set up an automotive diagnostic workshop and would love to get the autel ultra or any other tool that can scan newer and exotic cars, can you recommend where to update my knowledge. i am a mechanical engineer

    1. The high end tools like you’ll want to use are a significant investment. I recommend going to YouTube to watch a few mechanics work with the tools. You’ll see them poke through the UI and it’ll answer questions you didn’t know you had. You may also find some in-depth reviews of those tools as well.

  6. I have a ’98 Tacoma 3.4 and an ’06 Scion XB. I’m looking for a scan tool covering both vehicles. I want to be able to turn off check engine lights, etc., as opposed to just reading data. I’m toying with a icarsoft TYT II, which may cover both vehicles, but they have bad reviews. Is there a under $400 unit that you would recommend?

  7. This was so helpful information. I hope to make a wise decision when purchasing the OBD2 Scanner

  8. Hello, nice job here, I must really commend. I’m about setting up a car diagnostic workshop / quick fit Centre. I’ll be needing your advice on the best car diagnosis or scan tool to get, a fully detailed and would work perfectly with all types of cars if not almost all. Thanks. If possible I’ll appreciate a mail response.

    1. If I were you I would take a look at reviews for several different units, then pick the one that best fits your use case. Keep in mind the ease of use for each unit if you will be training new technicians to work for you. You’ll want to watch some videos to see someone click around each interface. This should tell you which product you find to be the most feature rich at your price point, and which will be the most intuitive to use.

  9. Hello,

    I want to place an order of Bosch 3970 ADS 625 Diagnostic Scan Tool .Email me with the price of each and let me know the lead time .

    Best Regards

    1. Hello Ernest, we don’t sell the scan tools ourselves but there are links to each one in the article where you can buy them.

  10. What scanner will communicate with CCM,ATM,PCM,ABS,AND SRS WOULD be nice. Looking for something for the home shop of a retired tech. Only going 2016 back. (OTC, Snap-on, bosch???

  11. Good morning,

    I drive a 2020 Changan CS35 Luxury ( a Chinese make); I was wondering if the above -mentioned scanners are compatible or not? If not, please, any recommendation for most of these Asian makes and especially for my Changan CS35?

    I have been combing through the market and can’t seem to get hold on one for my car.

    I shall be very grateful if you can help me with any info.

    Thank you.


    1. I don’t know, you’ll have to do a bit of research or ask around locally. We don’t have that vehicle in my country. If Chanagans use the OBD2 standardization most of these should work fine.

  12. Good evening,
    I live in the US and purchased a ThinkDiag when it came out from ThinkCar. I am not real car savvy, but I am trying to learn. I know the data stream shows values and posts the results in red if out of spec for the vehicle. I have a hard time understanding what some of the results mean such as long term fuel trim and such. I apologize for this ridiculous post, but I would like to know if that scan tool is as good as an Autel or Bosch(not covered in this thread, but it seems like a good tool when I see private mechanics use them. Does the Autel or Bosh make the results easier to understand rather than the ThinkDiag? Also, things like community support or even support from the manufacturer. ThinkDiag was fairly cheap for what it does in my opinion.

    1. Jay, good on you for trying to learn more about cars.

      The Autel and Bosch scanners are on a completely different level from ThinkDiag, and geared more toward professionals who do this type of work every day. I would actually say the results are harder to understand from Autel and Bosch, because those tools require more training and background knowledge to understand the scan data. Tools like these let you monitor signals over time from any sensor in the vehicle, and come with make and model specific technical data that can aid in advanced electrical diagnostics.

      I have never used a ThinkDiag, but it seems like a really nice alternative to BlueDriver. I have a BlueDriver scanner and really like it. These are great tools for the home mechanic, and are likely to have more user friendly documentation for people who want to fix their own car in their garage.

      There are many terms for parameters monitored by these tools. Start by learning a bit about how the ECU monitors the sensors around the engine. From there, you can start looking up terms like “long term fuel trim” and learn about which parameters are expected, what positive/negative numbers mean, etc. It’s really interesting stuff. Good luck and let me know if you have any more questions.

  13. Whats the best Diagnostic Scanners for someone like me who is not a mechanic by professional,Am an accountant but i want to use it for commercial purposes

    1. BlueDriver is an excellent tool that uses your phone as its user interface via a Bluetooth connection. It is very intuitive, gives you lots of data, and is easy to use.

  14. Please, I need a universal scanner that can work perfectly on BMW X5 2005, VW Tiguan 2013, and Nissan Primera 2003. Among the listed devices which one should I go in for?

  15. what scanner do i need for my 2014 nissan navara D40 automatic
    i need to re program injectors,throttle body, exhaust, turbo, pretty much everything has just basically been rebuilt

    thanks in advance

  16. Hi guys What is the best scanner for a Toyota Hilux please I seem to have a Foxwell NT634 and honestly it’s hopeless!!

  17. I want an easy-to-use all types of car scanner. What are the types available and cost. How can I trust shipment and who can I easily refer to if anything goes wrong with my money. I bank with United Bank of Africa (UBA) in Sierra Leone, West Africa. Can I pay through this bank?

    1. I’m not sure about your payment options in Sierra Leone. My favorite scan tool is the Blue Driver scan tool (our #1 pick). It is very user friendly and fairly inexpensive for what it offers. You will need a phone with a Bluetooth capability to use this one. The scanner will run you about $100 USD.

  18. Thanks for the article and research. My question.. i have cars ranging from 1986 Mercedes to 1995 Ford f250 to 2010 Subaru. I’d like one diagnostic system. Is that possible?

    1. Most OBD2 scan tools will work for any vehicle 1996 or newer. The process for older vehicle diagnostics will vary. Some OBD1 systems let you stick a jumper wire between two terminals for different diagnostic features, such as testing the fuel pump and timing the engine.

  19. I want to buy the best diagnosis machine which can scan different types of vehicles from cars to buses or lorries, Advise me please

  20. Hello. I Was interested In the Autel MaxiCOM. You stated that it has free updates for life. Everywhere I look. I only see 1 YR free updates. Where can I purchase from with free lifetime updates? Thank you

  21. Launch X431 Diagun IV would let Autel and snap on out of business because of the cost

  22. I am looking for the best diagnostic tool for use in my garage that can diagnos a number of car models.

    1. For most people, the BlueDriver listed above is more than enough. Something like the Innova 3150 is great if you want a dedicated screen. The Autel MaxiCOM MK808 above is also fantastic but you’ll pay a bit more.

      1. Hello if the scanner is needed for work which would be the best? My hisband is a mechanic and I’d like to give him a scanner as a gift but would like to know which is best for him?? Help please 🙂

        1. If it’s for work and your husband is like me, he will be a bit particular with the features he’s looking for in a given tool. For that reason I can’t give a specific recommendation. What would he think about getting money toward a scan tool of his choice instead?

    2. So many scan tool in market.
      You should list your car model and request for the scan tool features.

      1. I intend setting up vehicles diagnostic scanning workshop can you help me by recommending the best I can purchase

        1. If you are going to run a business doing automotive diagnostics, you are probably going to want an advanced scan tool like an Autel MaxiSys Elite or Ultra.

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