Owning the right OBD II scanner can save you a lot of headaches. It will not only save you money but also valuable time by avoiding unnecessary trips back and forth to the local car mechanic.
While they might seem overly complicated, the best OBD II scanners are easy to learn how to use. They can help you become much more familiar with the basics of car maintenance, especially if you are worried about facing car trouble, or if you’re planning a long road trip.
But where do you start? Which scanner is the best one to own? Where to Buy OBD2 Scanner? Let’s narrow down the choices in today’s guide on finding out what is the best OBD II scanner.
What Does an OBD II Scanner Do
OBD stands for On Board Diagnostic. This refers to the built in OBD systems that modern cars are fitted with. It acts as a standardized system that allows car mechanics all over the world to examine the health of a car.
When a vehicle has a problem, it activates a system called the Check Engine Light, or CEL for short. OBD II scanners are designed to detect these signals and help identify specific issues very quickly.
As convenient as all this sounds, OBD II scanners are not perfect. They can’t diagnose every possible problem that a car engine is susceptible to. In some situations, the OBD II scanner will provide a more ambiguous error code telling you that you might have to manually detect the problem on your own. In instances like this, taking your car to the auto shop is recommended. Then, you can diagnose the exact issue if simply using your OBS2 scanner didn’t quite identify it.
Are OBD II Scanners Expensive
One of the best things about OBD II scanners is that they do not break the bank. Even some of the most cutting-edge OBD II scanners cost less than $100. This is why it’s highly recommended to get one for yourself, because one single scanner will cost less than just about any trip to the car mechanic.
What is the Best OBD II Scanner
There are a few good options to choose from when it comes to considering the best OBD II scanner to get. At the end of the day, it’s really hard to beat Ancel. This brand makes a variety of great scanners that are all not only affordable but have all the features you need to perform diagnostics at home.
For the best OBD II Scanner you can buy, our vote goes to the Ancel AD530. This is a slightly more expensive scanner than others, but is still very affordable in the grand scheme of OBD II scanners.
What makes the Ancel AD530 special is that it comes with all the basic functions of a proper OBD II scanner with some nice upgrades.
For one thing, the Ancel AD530 has a much nicer screen than other Ancel scanners. It’s not only larger but comes with a higher quality display as well. The text and icons are much easier to read in both daylight and the dark.
Additionally, the Ancel AD530 has better vehicle compatibility than other Ancel scanner models. The AD530 will work with just about any American car made after 1996, any Asian car made after 2000 and any Russian car made after 2005. This last point is especially important, as some OBD scanners have compatibility issues with Russian-made vehicles.
The Ancel AD530 also has an improved car battery test that provides more detailed information and graphs. Thanks to the higher quality screen, you can see in real-time the live data stream depicting the status of your car’s battery.
And of course the Ancel AD530 OBD II Scanner also has all the regular functions you’d come to expect, like proper CEL testing, DTC explanation, an O2 Sensor test, erase codes and more.
Runner-Ups for the Best OBD II Scanner
As good as the Ancel AD530 is, it might not be the right model for you. Perhaps it’s a little too expensive or has one too many features for you.
If that’s the case, the Ancel AD310 OBD II Scanner would be a fantastic choice. It’s highly affordable and offers a lot of features and value.
If all you need is a scanner that can handle the basic scanning functions such as CEL testing, reading hard memory, screen freeze framing and DTCs, the AD310 will definitely get the job done.
Keep in mind that the Ancel AD310 has some compatibility issues with Russian cars, and is not compatible with Japanese models at all, so keep that in mind before you make the purchase.
Despite these issues, it’s still a fantastic option making it one of the best OBD II scanners money can buy.
If you’re looking for another great OBD II scanner, the Ancel AD410 is also worth looking at.
Not only can it measure engine temperature or O2 but it also has a built-in fault code library. This is essentially a glossary that explains all the different error codes to you, allowing you to easily understand what’s wrong with your car. This is one reason why the Ancel AD410 is a great choice for beginners.
It’s only slightly more expensive than the AD310 but is still very affordable and offers a lot of value.
While the Ancel AD530 is still our choice for the best OBD II scanner, all three of the Ancel options discussed are fantastic selections that will definitely make car maintenance easier for you.
If you've already decided that you are going to buy an OBD2 scanner then you're on the right track. It will save you a lot of trouble, and potentially save you some money too.
But make sure that you choose the right OBD 2 code reader for your vehicle, meaning the make and model are compatible, and be sure the scanner you get has all of the features you want.
Lastly, be sure to choose a trusted brand. Ancel is a well-regarded option that we recommend if you don’t know who to buy from.