Best OBD2 Scanners On a Budget 2020

If you are a mechanic, then you know the importance of having the right tools and motor accessories for your job. One such device is an OBD2 scanner. It doesn’t only make your work more comfortable, but it will save you time and money. It also enhances your professionalism as it gives you the accurate diagnostics of the problem bedeviling a vehicle. But what is an OBD2 scanner?

Ranking

Name

Feature

Current Price

#1

Foxwell NT201

Comes with both audio and visual features

#2

Kobra ELM327

It allows for use with multiple apps

#3

SeeKOne SK 860

with a lifetime free software

#4

Autel AutoLink AL319

Comes with a brilliant color display

#5

Topdon TD309

compatible with many protocols

#6

Innova 3040 e plus

video assistance from the app

#7

Fixd OBD-II

with an app that allows the device to be used with multiple at the same time

What is an OBD2 Scanner?

An OBD2 scanner is an onboard diagnostic device equipped with technological features to point out a problem in your vehicle and what needs to be done to solve it. It also points out any technical issue that needs to be sorted to forestall a problem from occurring in the future. There are several scanners in the market, and picking the right one can be a challenge. You could also be on a budget, and you are worried if you will find a good scanner that won’t cost you all your savings. Don’t worry; we have taken the trouble for you. We have come up with the best affordable scanners in the market today.

Best Budget OBD2 scanners 

1. Foxwell NT201

This is one of the best affordable scanners in the market today. It works really fast and accurately. A professional mechanic needs this device to carry out quick vehicle diagnostics. The scanner is ideal for a busy garage, with many customers lining up to have their issues sorted.

What is included?

This scanner comes with an adapter. You will use the adapter to plug in the scanner into your vehicle for quick diagnostics. Besides, there is also a USB cable that comes with the device. You will use the cable to connect to your pc whenever you want to update your software. The device also features an added EOBD Code Reader. You will also get free lifetime software when you buy the equipment. You will download the app from the Foxwell website and install it for instant use.

Functionality

The device allows you to receive definition codes directly. You won’t need to use Google or DTC dictionary. This device will help you to fix any car problem yourself without the need to call a professional mechanic. It also features multiple operating systems. The systems are compatible for use with Windows 8, 9 windows 10, and vista. The scanner is very user-friendly. The data is presented in text and graphs to enable easy reading and analysis.

The scanner also comes with three different LED lights on the code reader. The three different colors indicate the various diagnostics of your car.

  • Red color tells you that your vehicle has developed a problem and it needs urgent attention
  • Yellow indicates that although your car has an issue, that issue is temporary, but it stills need to be solved
  • Green means your car is in perfect working conditions

This device can be used in a variety of vehicles, including all OBDII, EOBD, and CAN compliant cars, SUVs, and trucks. Besides, this device is able to read a vehicle’s freeze frame data efficiently, and engine faults codes. It can also determine the cause of MIL in your car.

System specs

This device is equipped to read and erase codes. It also gives you a comprehensive view of vehicle data. It features a 2.4 color screen. The device is light to carry around, coming in a dimension of 4.8×2.8×0.9inches. It also weighs only 6.5 ounces. The large screen makes this device very user-friendly. With this device, you get live data and unit of measure. You will be provided with a full diagnostic report, which includes the problem, causes of the problem, and resources for repair. The device is also equipped to carry out smog checks and live data. This tool works fast and efficiently to provide solutions on time.

Design specifications

The device comes with a sturdy bright orange and black plastic exterior that is built to be durable. There is also a large bright screen for data display. A single purchase comes with a USB cable and an adapter. This device is very user-friendly, thanks to the quick one-click I/M button that comes with the device.

Pros
  • Comes with both audio and visual features
  • Excellent vehicle coverage
  • Affordable prices
Cons
  • The instructions are not clear
  • Can’t show and erase error codes for everything

2. Kobra ELM327

This amazing scanner is compatible with any android or windows device. You will download and use the app very easily. The device can be used on all variety of vehicles from 1996 up to date.

What is included?

The device features an app that you can easily download and install on any windows system or android device. The scanner also comes in two distinct models; the Bluetooth model, which works only on windows and android, and the Wi-Fi model, which works on windows, android, and Apple operating systems.

Functionality

The device is designed to quickly connect to ECU to provide you with quick diagnostic codes. It also reset the check engine lights fast. With this device, you will get both the manufacturer-specific and generic DTCs in record time. This device is also compatible for use with many applications, including the Torque app, ScanMaster Lite, and ODB Car Doctor app. You can download the applications easily to your phone or tablet from the app stores.

Technical specifications

The device features a 16 pin connector. Once you have plugged it inside your car, you will connect the device to any application of your choice using this 16 pin connector. The device is very portable, weighing only 1.76 ounces and coming in a dimension of 4x2x1.2 inches. It is so compact it can fit comfortably in the palm of your hand. Nevertheless, it works powerfully to give you the vital services needed for proper maintenance of your vehicle.

Design specifications

The device is designed to have a beautiful black finish. It also comes with a 16-bit adaptor. The scanner also features good ergonometric design thanks to the nonslip grips grids located on the sides of this fantastic product.

Pros
  • It allows for use with multiple apps
  • It is built to last for long
  • Small and light
Cons
  • Have compatible issues with some cars
  • Possible application connection issues.

3. BlueDriver LSB2

BlueDriver LSB2 is one of the best ODBs in the market today, wherein one doesn’t need to be an expert to fix anything. This device can work on any type of phone, which means that live data will be easier to transfer. 

Connecting is via Bluetooth and it comes with a user friendly app that you can install on your preferred phone. If you need to share your reports, export them or save, you can do all that in just a few seconds. 

One of the best things about BlueDriver LSB2 is that it has the power to diagnose problems, including freeze frame, smog check, rest codes, and view them when needed. Everything that you need in an ODB is here with BlueDriver LSB2.

What is it includes?

A single purchase of this scanner comes with a lifetime free software. You can connect the device to your pc using an adapter that comes with it. You can, therefore, easily keep the records of your car on your computer for future reference. It also comes with a USB cable for connecting with other devices and a durable carry bag for carrying it around. You will use the carryback to store your device safely whenever you are traveling to work with it.

Systems specs

The device weighing 11.2 oz and coming with a dimension of 7.8×3.8×1.2 inches may be too heavy for a handheld device. However, it also comes with a classical 2.8 color screen and a 58-inch cord that you will find very convenient. You will also get a quick overview of your diagnostics thanks to the I/M pre-inspection readiness key that comes with the device. The device is compatible with several car manufacturers and other generic codes.

Design specifications

The scanner is designed to be bulky owing to the durable rubber bumpers it is made from. But it is very user-friendly thanks to the eight-button navigation system that comes with the device.

Pros
  • Indicator LED light that tells you that it is connected on the phone
  • Has 6.6 million verified fixes
  • No need for batteries 
  • Displaying active codes
  • App can launch automatically with iPhones
Cons
  • Not advisable for diesel cars

4. Autel AutoLink AL319

This easy to use scanner comes with many useful design and functionality features. The bright screen is equipped with very easy to understand navigation features. It is also equipped with a functionality that enables data comparison. You will be able to compare the old results to the new ones to gauge whether there is any improvement in the vehicle’s diagnostics. Besides, with this device, you are sure to find vehicles faults very fast. You will be able to erase them quickly to return your vehicle to an excellent working condition.

What is included?

The device comes with a USB port to enable a secure connection to your computers. The port is a rare feature to find in other scanners. Data storage and updates are very convenient, thanks to the USB port. The device also features a very easy to understand instruction manual from the manufacturer. You will also be able to use the device with different languages, including Polish, German, Dutch, Spanish, and English. This device can, therefore, be used in most parts of the world.

Functionality

You will use this fantastic product to read and erase your vehicle’s codes conveniently. You will get timely vehicle data, including VIN, CIN, and CVN. The device can also perform an ignition test efficiently. Besides, you can use the tool to determine the MIL in both generic and manufacturer-specific vehicles. You won’t need a battery or electricity to power on the device; it is designed to directly tap into your vehicle’s power. It is, therefore, a very convenient tool for use anywhere, including off-grid areas.

Technical specs

It features a very bright LCD screen to allow you to have a better viewership. This device is also very portable, weighing 11b with a dimension size of 63x 17.7×92.5 inches.

Design specifications

The device comes with a bright red plastic exterior. It also comes with rubber grips notches on the side to aid better handling. The device is user-friendly thanks to the simple three-button interface I/M key. You will navigate the device easily to enable you to get quick solutions. It also comes with three distinct color display of red, yellow, and green. You will find us eth e colors to determine the overall health of your car.

Pros
  • Comes with a brilliant color display
  • Comes with a USB port
  • It is easy to understand and use
Cons
  • It comes with a very shortcode
  • Sometime sit fails to explain what the error code means

5. Autel MaxiLink ML629

Autel MaxiLink ML629 is not your ordinary scanner where it can reset or pull the DTCs on your vehicle. The reason behind this is because it has the power to erase or delete the descriptions of DTC. It can also help check the CAN and ECU for issues and diagnose issues with your SRS system. 

Another good thing about Autel MaxiLink ML629 is that it has the ability to diagnose any transmission system codes that are trouble. When it comes to connectivity, it’s pretty easy since it has a connector port and a dongle. It runs Windows, but more suitable for Windows 10. 

Lastly, Autel MaxiLink ML629 is easy to use, so you don’t need someone explaining anything to you. It has directional buttons that you can easily figure out.

What is included?

This device comes in a plastic cover. The cover contains all the manufacturer instructions on how to use it. However, there is no user manual that comes with the product. But, you can log onto go to the manufacturer’s website to understand how the device can be used.

Functionality

You can use this small but powerful scanner to scan your vehicle’s DTCs. You can also erase the data quickly with a click of a button. You will also easily access essential data on your car, such as VINs, using this device. The scanner is effortless to use thanks to its single input. It is ideal for mechanics who are seeking to avoid dealing with complicated wires and adapters.

Pros
  • Great value for money
  • Easy to use
  • Full color of backlit display
  • Easy to read
  • Can erase, reset, and read codes
Cons
  • Not pocket sized

6. Innova 3040 e plus

If you are looking for a simple and affordable device to help you get an excellent diagnosis of your car, then this is the right device for you. You will understand the faulty codes easily, owing to the device’s functionalities that explain what the codes mean. You will also get essential tips on how to fix the fault codes quickly to save time.

What is included?

This device features an easy to use an app called ReapairSolution. The app will cost you nothing as it can be downloaded free of charge. The app will link you to videos that guide you on how to solve your car problems. With this device, you will also get a timely breakdown of repair costs and verified fixes.

Functionality

You will be provided with live data that helps in the accurate reading of the vehicle’s diagnostics. You will also get a quick clearing thanks to the fast erase code that comes with the device. What is more, the device can reset the oil service light on most 1996 vehicles and the newer models. You can also use the device to test your car battery as well as the alternator for performance diagnostics.

Tech specs

The device is very compatible with several platforms such as Windows XP, windows vista, windows 7, and Windows 8. It is very portable thanks to its lightweight of 8.9oz and dimension size of 6.8×3.5×1.1 inches. The device also features a 3 inch colored screen for easy and convenient viewership. The 30-inch cord will be very convenient as it allows easy movement around your workplace.

Design specifications

The device comes in a sturdy black plastic exterior that ensures durability. The cover is designed to keep dirt at bay.

Pros
  • It is very durable
  • it is very user-friendly
  • you will get video assistance from the app
Cons
  • it comes with too many technical buttons
  • the device doesn’t come with an I/M button
  • You can only sue the device with some specific programs.

7. Fixd OBD-II Active Car Health Monitor-2nd Generation

This is arguably one of the best scanners in the market today. With this device, you will be able to monitor your personal car and all the other family fleet using your smartphone. In case there is an issue with any of the vehicles, the app will alert you on time. You will, therefore, be able to save a lot of money by arresting the problem before it causes enormous damage. The device will also guarantee you and your family’s safety by alerting you on time whenever there is a problem with your car.

What is included?

This device comes with a powerful app that is downloadable. Once you have plugged in the scanner into your vehicle, you will download the app to your phone to give you the desired diagnosis. The scanner will read the vehicle’s information before displaying the same for you to read the diagnostics on the app. It also comes with add-ons that guide you on fixed roadside steps to take to solve the problem. You will be able to use the device anywhere with your smartphone owing to the wireless syncing capabilities that come with it.

Functionality

The app is amicable to use. You will get relevant information about your car’s performance and tips on how to take care of it. You will also use the device to get the severity of the problem affecting your vehicle. The scanner also comes with easy proactive steps on how to fix the problem and the dynamic methods to forestall a similar problem from occurring in the future.

Once you power your vehicle, the device will display the problems in your car and how to solve them. Moreover, this device will monitor your vehicle continuously, and if a problem develops, you will get prompt alerts. You, therefore, get a firm control on the performance of your car. This product is also equipped with a functionality feature to alert you whenever it is time for service.

Systems specs

This exceptional device can be used to carry diagnosis in more than one vehicle thanks to its multi-vehicle function. You can use the device for versatile usage, including reading and clearing the engine light, getting diagnostics reports and tracking of your vehicle’s maintenance.

Design specifications

The scanner features a small white design. It comes without wires, screens, or buttons. However, it is compatible for use with smartphones and tablets. If you are looking for a suitable adapter that won’t disappoint, then go for Fixd OBD-II. This is arguably one of the best choices if you are on a budget.

Pros
  • The adapter can be used anywhere
  • It comes with an app that allows the device to be used with multiple at the same time
  • The device is easy to use
Cons
  • The device may use a lot of cellular data
  • The videos sometimes run very slow
  • The app may fail to connect

Guide to Buying the Best Budget OBD2 Scanners

The market is full of different models of scanners. Before you invest in any scanner, get to understand the following tips:

Benefits of an OBD2 scanner

Saves money

With the OBD2 scanner, you don’t need to spend a lot of cash on a professional mechanic. You can solve minor car problems on your own using the device. Some of the scanners can detect a possible problem before it causes colossal damage to your vehicle.

Safety precautions

A number of the brands on the list above come with alert modes. It helps in the prevention of accidents or breakdowns in the middle of the road. When you know your car has a problem beforehand, you will fix it before you embark on the trip.

Simplicity

The scanners on the list above are very user-friendly. You don’t have to be a professional mechanic to use one. They come with easy to understand manuals and instructions. The information you get is simple to read and understand. The scanners also work in a variety of languages and thus can be used anywhere in the world.

Who is supposed to use the scanner?

These devices are ideal for use by both professional mechanics and car owners looking to spend less time and money in diagnosing and solving problems affecting their vehicles. You will be able to locate the problem in your vehicle in record time and accurately, too, if you use this device. A non-professional mechanic can easily use the device thanks to its user-friendly manual. You won’t need the assistance of your mechanic to troubleshoot the device in your car.

How the OBD2 data works

All you need to do to get a connection is to plug the OBD-II in a connector of the device to your car. You will then enter the request message displayed on the device’s screen. The relevant ECU will then reacts and send a response message through the CAN-bus.

What should you be aware of?

The device comes with a variety of parameter IDs. These IDs can be extracted from most normal cars on the road. Using a computer system, you will quickly get clear information on your car. What this means is that, for you to read the messages, you will need a system to convert the data and make it readable. The OBD2 scanner is equipped with useful technology to enable you to access timely data from your vehicle. The list we have provided today features some of the most popular brands of the scanners in the market. Getting one of them is a great way to invest your hard-earned cash.

Final Thoughts

A lot is needed to maintain vehicles and ensure they are in the right working conditions. The OBD2 scanner will help you locate and fix a problem whenever it occurs. The scanner will not only save you money but also time and any further damage a problem may have on your car. This is a perfect tool for all vehicle owners, no matter your experience, level of education, or language. The device also comes very cheap and thus is very affordable to a significant number of people. Go for one of the scanners on the list we have provided. We guarantee you will not be disappoint

 

Jeff Day
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