What is the best automotive scan tool for mechanics or the home mechanic in 2020 and which one should you buy?
An automotive scan tool is an important tool to to add to your arsenal. Picking the best automotive diagnostics tool is important. We tested a lot of scanners and rated them below.
Our list of the Top Professional Diagnostic Scanners in 2019 and 2020
Innova 3160g Bluetooth Automotive Diagnostic / Scanning Tool
Launch X431 PRO Automotive Diagnostic Tool – Medium Value
Actron CP9690 Diagnostic Scanner
Table of Contents
- 1 Our list of the Top Professional Diagnostic Scanners in 2019 and 2020
- 2 Autel Maxisys Pro MS90P Automotive Scanner – Best Product
- 3 BlueDriver Bluetooth OBD2 Automotive Scanner – Best Value
- 4 Innova 3160g Bluetooth Automotive Diagnostic / Scanning Tool
- 5 Launch X431 PRO Automotive Diagnostic Tool – Medium Value
- 6 Actron CP9690 Diagnostic Scanner
- 7 Our Reviews of Automotive Service Diagnostic Tools
- 8 1. Autel Maxisys Pro MS90P - Top Automotive Scan Tool
- 9 BlueDriver Bluetooth OBD2 Automotive Scanner – Best For the Money
- 10 Innova 3160g Bluetooth Automotive Diagnostic / Scanning Tool
- 11 Launch X431 PRO Automotive Diagnostic Tool – Good Engine Diagnostics Tool
- 12 Actron CP9690 Diagnostic Scanner
- 13 FOXWELL NT301 Code Reader
Not everyone can purchase a luxury car so a second great option is to handle car repairs on your own.
You can never know for sure with previously used cars. It's difficult to know whether there are external damages or internal damages. One of the common problems with used cars is the control module or the system. There are some cars that looks neat on the inside, but sever problems lie in the modules.
This issue can be truly alarming for secondhand car buyers, as seller may take advantage of you. But, don’t worry, if you ever want to make sure that the used car you are planning to buy is still on mint condition, you can use one tool to reduce these risks.
The tool that I’m referring to is the automotive scan tool. These car diagnosis scan tool is a definite helper. It diagnose and assess the state of the system of the car, checking if it’s still working or not.
Nevertheless, there are a number of good automotive (Must read the best spray gun for automotive paint on the market) scan tools available on the market today. If you plan on buying one, then you should first read this guide so that you don't regret your purchase.
If you are planning to buy, then how about we give you a list of the best of the best car scanners available in the market, today? You may choose from the selection, check the specs, pros and cons. And if its suits your needs and preferences, then buy it as soon as possible. Read these thorough review, and find the right one for you.
Our Reviews of Automotive Service Diagnostic Tools
1. Autel Maxisys Pro MS90P - Top Automotive Scan Tool
One of the successful brands in the industry of car scanners is Autel. The company has produced one of the best automobile scanners in the market, the Autel Maxisys Pro MS908. This tool is a definite fit for any mechanic, professional or home. Although the main function is to read codes, and provide diagnosis. The Maxisys pro goes beyond it, performing ahead of your expectation. Thus, this tool equipment is dubbed as the best value scanner available, today.
Top Diagnostics Tool Available on the Market
Check out its features:
- Vast Range of Functions
Remember, when I said that this scanner is more than just code reading. What I mean of being more than that, is it offers more function, than the conventional car scanner. The Autel Maxisys is also known to perform thorough diagnoses for the car. It is also capable of carrying out graphic live data that other tools can’t even fathom. You can also use the tool to perform actuation test and ECU information. And you can view the displayed data in the forms of analog, text, and even graph.
- Autofocus Camera
As one of the best tool in the market, it has to contain some advanced features. One upgraded feature is the autofocus camera. This diagnostic scanner contains a 5-megapixel camera to supplement the interface of the tool. You can use the camera to take photos of the codes being displayed. Which you can show to professionals or even other people to get some feedbacks about the state the car is in.
- Longer Battery Life
For professional users, one factor, which they are looking it is the general runtime of the tool. Let’s face it, some scanners may contains some of the techiest features but they fall when it comes to the battery life. This is where the Autel Maxisys is different. You can use this equipment at a steady power, without any disruptions on its operations. The batter of this tool is rechargeable, and runs for about 8 hours, or even more.
- Cutting-edge Processor
We are talking about the best value product in the market. So, it does not contain any louse features that can cause its downfall. If you want something that is may exceed you expectation, when it comes to the speed, then you should go with this one, the Maxisys. Known for speed, it contains a cortex-A9 quad-core processor. Due to this impressive component, it is able to perform with utmost speed and efficiency. With the quality processor embedded in the tool, you can perform multiple functions easily without any lag or delays.
One of the highlights of technology nowadays are the connectivity capabilities. Tool with wires or cord are definitely a thing of the past. The new trend nowadays are wireless technology. Being wireless, it does not need to burden itself with tangling wires. Instead, the Autel Maxisys contains both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth that makes it more convenient to use. If it is connected to the vehicle, then you or the technician can freely move, without interrupting the connection.
- Software Updates
Not all scanners or tools have the capability of software updates. For this, they remain at the lowest state possible, not being able to undergo development. The Autel Maxisys begs to differ. To completely go with the trend or development of cars, the Maxisys, also undergo its own updates. Through this, the scanner is compatible even, with the latest of automobiles.
- Coding Capacity
The cream of the crop when it comes to the features. The coding capacity is a cut above the rest. It can definitely perform safe and reliable coding for your vehicles. There is nothing more to explain when it comes to the coding, as it can truly outperform other conventional scanners in the market.
Now that you have known some of the features of the Autel Maxisys, how about some more great things about it? Here are the pros of the Autel Maxisys Pro MS90P.
- The scanner is designed with sturdy construction for durability, and longer use. Aside from the compact and hard ergonomic design. It has an added protection with rubber housing and case.
- Constant development and evolution, able to cater even the latest car with its software updates.
- The language system of the tool isn’t biased, and it can be used or configured to other languages as well.
- A touchscreen monitor for easier interface and convenient use of the tool.
- Suitable for both professional and home technicians, looking for an efficient car diagnosis tool.
- There is only one problem or downside with this scanner. With its advanced qualities and features, it may be too heavy for people without the luxury of money. Aside from that, the updates needs additional payment.
This is the first on the list due to a reason. Designed by Autel to perform with astoundingly, and without flaws in its operation. With its impressive qualities and feature, this is an investment worthy of buying, of course if you have the financial capability. We will leave it to you to decide if this is the best in the world.
BlueDriver Bluetooth OBD2 Automotive Scanner – Best For the Money
Setting on the second spot is the BlueDriver Bluetooth OBD2 Scanner. This scanner is also one of a kind, due to the unique features it have. It can perform with exceptionality and reliability. One of the notable features it have is the easy installations and on-the-go competence. There have been cases that Bluetooth scanners have been a dud when it comes to performance, but this brand is different. To know more about this product, here are its prominent features.
We'd Recommend this for People Looking for a Cheap scan Tool.
There aren’t a lot of scanners capable of giving report regarding the state of the system. Well, some may give playback competence but not a complete report. The BlueDriver, however, provides a well-defined report on how to address the issue of your car at hand.
- IOS and Android Compatible
This scanner is gadget friendly, and is designed to be compatible with IOS and Android devices. So, if you have devices that is IOS and Android in nature, then the BlueDriver can efficiently work without displaying any problems.
- Two-Punch Combination
Unique to the BlueDriver, it has a feature which supplements each other. The control interface of the tool is through the BlueDriver application, to go well with it is the sensor. Both works to provide quality and reliable quality readings.
- Presents Live Data
You will have no issues looking at the data, scanned by the tool. The BlueDriver shows a live data that can be seen in different forms. It can be viewed in graph, digital, gauge readout. Through this, you can see the data, or information conveniently.
- >Reads, Clears, and Enhances Codes
Same with the first product, the BlueDriver is also competent when it comes to coding. It has the ability to read and clear the permanent, or pending codes in your car. It can also enhance the codes of various aspects of your cars such as airbags, transmission and many more.
Aside from the features, which definitely shows the positive side of the BlueDriver. Here are some more excellent things to marvel BlueDriver. Here are some of the pros of the equipment.
- Bearing the Bluetooth in the name, it does not need those long cables to install to the car. After you are connected to the Bluetooth, you can easily use the tool via the application.
- It has been made easier with the application. Once you established connection with the car, you can easily manipulate the tool to set commands such as read, clear codes, diagnose, or more.
- The equipment is designed, and created to be relatively small to other scanners sold in the market. Due to its compact, and small size, you can easily carry, or hide the device.
- It can duly perform various functions, not just one. Using the apparatus, you can do both basic and advanced reading. But that’s not all, you can also receiver reports on recent reports, or happenings. And you can also graph the live data provided, or better yet, store it.
The BlueDriver is not at all close to perfection. It contains some flaws which limits it competence against other scanner in the market.
- Although it’s applicable, or compatible with android, or IOS, it still has some limitation with compatibility. If your devices is of Windows origin, then the tool will not work, or it will not connect to the equipment.
- Same with the concept as the number one con, the equipment is only limited to several cars. It is not compatible with most cars, and the verity that is does not have any software updates poses a limitations to its capabilities.
- Although the connection is wireless, you still have to remain in proximity to make it work. Long distance will truly cut-off the connection.
- You may also encounter problems or issues regarding the application.
The BlueDriver is one of the leading scanner in the market. It can outperform the conventional scanners. It has unique and advanced features, and qualities. But the competence of the BlueDriver is limited, as it has several cons or limitations.
Innova 3160g Bluetooth Automotive Diagnostic / Scanning Tool
If you’re looking for a diagnostic tool that is not too complicated, then this might just be the one. The Innova 3160g is designed especially for home technicians, due to its easy-to-use features, but don’t let it fool you though. It’s in the list for a reason, and that is due to its impressive features. Basically, you can use this to any types of vehicles such as cars, trucks, hybrid vehicles, and even SUVs. Now, don’t be a stranger to this creation, and discover the different features it holds.
- Usability Service
When it comes to the usability of the tool or device the Innova 360g can work either, as stand-alone diagnostics tool, or via the application model. You can easily connect the tool to your mobile devices, through Bluetooth. Or if you don’t want any hassle, you can just use the tool as it is.
- Impressive Display Screen
Since the tool is Bluetooth enabled, you can use your phone as interface, and set commands for the tool. But if you find getting your phone connected to the tool too much work, then you can directly use the tool. It has great impressive display screen, supplemented by several buttons. Therefore, controlling or setting commands are just made to be easy.
There are cases where the tool isn’t not compatible to automobiles. Thus, this limitations are the reason why other brands are being successful. Perhaps, the Innova 360g is one of the popular diagnostic scanners in the market, due to its compatibility proficiency. Any vehicles made or produced after the year of 1996, will be catered by the scanner, whatever the brand is.
- More Code Readings
Multifunctional scanners are the trend nowadays. Luckily, the men behind the Innova 360g learned to adapt and inserted some more coding functions, to add up in its repertoire. Added in its coding competence are ABS coding, oil codes and airbag coding.
- Free Software Updates
One indication of a good running scanner is the capability to undergo updates. The ability for a software update paves way to great things. Due to the pending production of new cars of some companies, scanners should also step up. Their way of upgrading is not by creating a new tool, but opting to go with software updates. The Innova 360g is capable of software updates to perform its functions to a vast range of vehicles.
To the eyes of common people, the Innova 360g is one of the conventional scanner in the market, which is not. It may look conventional, but it has advanced features, which can outperform other product brands. To give you more ideas, here are the pros of the Innova 360g.
- Surely one of the issues of secondhand cars are error codes in the system that can bind its limits. But, the Innova 360g is known to counter these issues through the use of coding. If there are SRS and ABS error codes, the tool will read, and duly erase it for your benefit.
- Compared to other scanners that are relatively larger, the Innova begs to differ. The device is created to be compacted, and small in size. Therefore, you will not have any problem in carrying it with you anywhere you want to go.
- If you are opting to reset your oil light, then you can use the scanner to do just that. The scanner makes it possible for you to reset the oil light of your car, without any hassle.
- It is compatible with cars made after the year of 1996. It also has free software updates to widen the span of usability among the cars.
A system have flaws. Same with the system, the Innova 360g also have its shares faults in its components.
- The device, or tool is powered by AA batteries. But, you have to use 3 AA batteries to fully power the device, and change it every once in a while. Some people may view this idea as expensive as you will be buying batteries every once in a while.
- Not all interested customers may be able to buy it. You will need a more relaxed budget to buy this device, or tool.
In conclusion, if you want something that is simple, yet contains some advanced features, then the Innova is the best answer. Suitable to home or do-it-yourself mechanics, the device has its own easy interface control, either by application, or the device itself. It also has a manual for you to know the in, and out of the device. Overall, the tool is a top if not the best performer when it comes to coding or diagnosing your car.
Launch X431 PRO Automotive Diagnostic Tool – Good Engine Diagnostics Tool
A diagnostic tool that looks exactly alike as smartphones. The Launch X431 is said to level the performance of the Autel, the device first in our list. The X431 pro is approximately is 8 inches in size, and truly resembles a smartphone with its sleek, and compact design. Consider this device as one of the top diagnostic, or scanning tool available in the market today. With 11 diagnostic functions, you surely will not regret purchasing it. Here are the features, and the functions of e Launch X431 PRO.
- Throttle Position Adjuster
If you have any issues with the throttle position, then this baby can surely help you address that. If you want to settle the throttle at idle position, then it’s possible, as long as you are using the Launch X431 PRO.
- Oil Reset
Every vehicle tend to have the mandatory oil reset, the only problem is when? Some drivers, especially the new ones are confused with this. When do you reset the oil of your car? But, with the Launch X431 you will be notified when it’s time to reset the oil. The device reads the oil reset light, and gives you this notice. A great help particular for new drivers.
- ABS Bleeding
Air, as we know it, is always present in the atmosphere. Air is also a contributor on the disrupting the system of a vehicle. Once you open the hood, or the engine for component changing, air tend to enter. It will then do its work, and mess up the system, and the brakes in particular. The tool can also be used to bleed air from the ABS, thus releasing the problems that might mess up the system of your auto.
- Live Data
Whenever the car is being diagnosed, the data will be displayed on the monitor for you to see. The device will provide you the live feed of the results, or the full report on the overall health of the car.
- Actuator Testing
Consider to be one of the highlight of the device, the X431 Pro can perform actuator testing. Through this evaluation, you will be able to identify the different liabilities under the hood, or the subsystems of your car. The device does this individually, it analyze, and evaluates the state of every component. The reports, or live data is instant, thus you will not need to wait for minutes.
Being in the level, the Launch X431 carries a lot of punch, and positive features. Let’s continue pouring on the great things about this device. Here are some of the pros, which you will experience once you use the Launch X431.
- Some of the functions of the device are stated above, but those are not the only ones. It truly packs a punch in its repertoire as it has approximately 11 functions.
- It does not select car brands, or models to diagnose. The device works for a vast spectrum of car models, and brands. Old or new, this tool will surely deliver.
- If you want a hard copy of the report, then you can print it out. The device has this extraordinary feature, Wi-Fi printer feature.
- Other than the basic diagnostic functions it performs, you can also diagnose the car while at drive. With this, you can view the actual speed of the wheels, and see if there are any problems present.
- If you want expert’s opinion about the issues of your car, you can share it to experts. The device can share the data, or report to the company’s experts, and you may be give recommendations and solutions.
- It comes with its own manual that is easy to read and very informational for the user.
Nothing is perfect. Creations always have these liabilities, or flaws. In the case of Launch X431, the concept also applies to it. Here are the cons of the device, Launch X431 PRO diagnostic tool.
- Compared to other diagnostic/scanning tool in the market, this one is heavier. Bearing the weight of 10.7 pounds, this one is truly not an ordinary device.
- If you are accessing or using multiple PIDs, then the device may not adapt, and may even slow to function. It is recommended to use PIDs, one at a time to avoid this predicament.
- Unfortunately, you will never know the battery percentage of the device as it has no definite means of showing it. Aside from the battery, the crank voltage is also impossible to identify.
- Exhibiting advanced and topnotch features, the price of this device is also the same. To make it simple, the device is expensive, and may stretch your budget.
The Launch X431 PRO is an impressive device, definitely made to diagnose the state of cars. It is quite versatile as it works for both professional, and home technicians. The tool is not that hard to control and it comes with a manual with complete information. If you have the money, then you should opt for this one, as it has multiple functions in one scanning tool.
Actron CP9690 Diagnostic Scanner
To be simple is great. The Actron is the perfect example of the phrase when it comes to the look. The Actron CP9690 looks like a century old phone with buttons. But don’t let the external look of this tool fool you. The small machine is very handy when it comes to checking cars if it has issues, or none at all. If you want to know more about this product, then here are some of its amazing features.
Let’s begin with one of the notable quality of this device, which is trilingual feature. One of the noticeable issues with scanners nowadays is the inability to use due to language barriers. The brains behind this device have truly taken into consideration other countries. The device can actually shift from three languages namely French, Spanish, and English. No more language barriers with this one, use the tongue you are comfortable in using.
- Extensive Coding
Unlike other devices that performs intensive and specific coding only, the Actron offers a wide-ranging coding. The small equipment can work with both OBD 1 and OBD 2 automobiles. Not only that, it contains 26 million codes, so every inch of issue within the car will be read and solved.
- Live Data
Only a handful of devices can display live data, of course, the Actron belongs to the list. The Actron displays the report or the data for you to view and read. The data can also be stored for future uses as well. Or if you want a hard copy of the data, then it is also possible to have it printed with the Actron.
One of the features of scanners is it should be updatable. Fortunately, the Actron can be updated through the internet. If you have internet connection, then it is never a problem to update the device to update the tool of fix bugs. You can connect the device to a computer, and let the device do all the work.
- LCD is Colored
It is very difficult to read data on the screen of some device because the LCD is colorless. Different from those conventional miniature machines, the Actron’s LCD is colored and well-lit. Therefore, you will not have issue reading the data from the screen and you will not have any eye strain as the screen is actually big.
- Enhanced Features
The list of enhanced features of the Actron device is long, and it may take longer time. THE OBD 1 and OBD 2, each have their own enhanced features that is truly magnificent, and can be used to identify and address any issue found in the car.
- If you want to know more great things about this product, then check out more below. Stated below are the different pros which the Actron CP9690 presents.
- If you want a hard copy of the data or reading from the device, you can print it. The device comes with a cable that you can use to connect to the PC for printing and other purposes.
- Due to its small and compact design, you can easily handle it and store anywhere.
- The built of the device is exceptionally made and truly made for durability. But it’s still recommended to carry it using the carrying case.
- One feature you will truly find exceptional with this device is the CodeConnect and true link technology. Through this the device can be connected to more vehicles, thus increasing the compatibility competence.
Of course, the device also contains some cons or faults. But the Actron only contains a small number of flaws, and they are stated below.
- The Actron CP9096 is an in-to-the future device which can be a bit complicated to beginners or home technicians.
- The pricing of this device can be bit shocking to some customers with a limited budget. It is made with enhanced and advanced features, so the pricing is truly expensive.
The Actron CP9096 is may be simple looking but it packs great and impressive qualities. The room for improvement is always open, as the device is updatable. But, this tool is recommended for professionals due to the complexity of the tool. In general, the Actron CP9096 is an impressive tool for your car diagnostic needs.
FOXWELL NT301 Code Reader
If you are looking for something that fits your budget, then this might be the answer for you. The FOXWELL NT301 belongs to the list of budget-friendly devices available in the market. The pricing is not the only great thing about this. This also works for newbies or average type technicians looking for simple diagnostic functions. Here are the features of the device.
- Simple Interface
If you don’t want something complicated, and desires simple only, then the NT301 is suited for you. Easy and simple interface as the buttons are labeled. You will not find it hard to use the device with these buttons.
- Wide Spectrum of Compatibility
This device is also known for its versatility. It can be used to a wide spectrum of car brands and models. Although the design and construction is simple, it can keep up with its performance. Regardless of the car being local or foreign brand, the NT301 can greatly work with it. This simple yet wide range scanner may perform above or beyond expectation.
- Updatable through the Internet
This scanner have room for improvements or developments. Why? The device is updatable. If you have a stable internet connection, then you can instantly update the device. The equipment actually comes with a lifetime software update to fix bugs, and improve its diagnostic performance. Also, you will never need to buy advanced scanners because all you need to do with this one, is to upgrade.
Don’t judge a book by its cover. It may look simple but it can put other devices to shame. With its various functions, it can perform a wide range of diagnose and coding hobs for your car. There are even some functions that the device will automatically perform from time to time.
- No Batteries Needed
The devices can be powered by connecting the cable to the interface of your car. The cable is long so you can operate while in the drive seat. This is a great bliss for mechanics just like you as you will not buy batteries anymore.
Here are the pros of the devices. Let’s skip the long introduction and check them out below.
- If you’re looking for something that is for easy interface, then this your answer. With the use of simple buttons you will have no issues in controlling the device.
- It contains some essential accessories to supplement the device.
- It also have warranty which you can use if you find some issues with the device.
- It performs various functions to supply every diagnostic and coding needs of home mechanics and even professionals.
- Although it is simple the compatibility of the device is actually great. It can work well with foreign or local brands of cars.
- Of course there will be problems with the devices as well. It is never free from faults or flaws. Here are the different cons of the NT301.
- It can perform several functions and gets the job done, but it can’t actually cancel error codes. This pose as a con since most car nowadays have issues with error codes.
- The simplicity of the device and the instruction are contradicting. The instruction is actually challenging to comprehend, thus it may be troublesome to some technicians.
Going simple is the thing of some technicians nowadays, nothing fancy as they might say. The FOXWELL NT301 may be the answer for them. With simple buttons to basic but wide function, this is truly made for the home technicians. It is also affordable, so your budget wouldn’t be stretched to a certain extent. But this device only performs to an extent only due to the cons. Overall, this is still one of the top performers on the list.
Finding the best diagnostic or scanning tool in the market is easier said than done. With a vast range of devices in the market with different brands, you will surely have a hard time finding the right one for you. Fortunately for you, this review article will be very much of help for you. Above are some of the best products available in the market, each having their own unique qualities and features which you will enjoy upon purchasing.
If you are having a hard time with choosing one, you can select with the collection above. Just read the features, and the pros and cons to help you decide buying the right one for you. Be guided and select the best among the rest.