An OBD2 is a crucial tool that will help you as a car owner for years. No doubt you would need it, but how much money would you pay in exchange for a good scanner? Many car owners wonder!
Scanners read the diagnostic codes, such as the check engine light, and help you fix the minor issue. It can also help you understand the problem before visiting the mechanic. As essential as the scanners are, they vary in price.
How Much for a Scanner?
A good and verified scanner with great reviews costs about $30 on average. The better and more advanced the OBD2 scanner is, the higher its price tag. The higher-end Ancel scanner has more functions than its low-end counterpart. The Ancel AD310 is the most affordable, for less than $30. The AD410, with extra features like a battery load tester, goes for about $60.
Any OBD scanner going for less than $20 raises eyebrows. Most scanners use ELM327 interpreter to receive and display the information. The unit sells for $12.14 or more, which means if a scanner goes for less than $20, it’s sold used, at a loss, or it’s not using the genuine ELM327. If it’s not genuine, it will give the wrong fault codes!
Scanner Cost Range
Most affordable scanners go for $30 on average, but there are also scanners for $500 and above for professionals. However, some cheap scanners may have hidden subscriptions to access advanced features available for free on more expensive scanners. Here is the price range of scanners and features to expect.
Under $60 Range
An efficient and basic OBD2 scanner costs about $30 to $60. These scanners can perform a range of scans and pull some trouble codes. Some scanners within this budget require the user to pay for updates. Most of them are not handheld but come with a Bluetooth-enabled module. The user reads the trouble codes and emission test results on their phone or tablet. Some actually come with their own tablets with preinstalled apps.
Between $100 and $200
Scanners within this range are more advanced with a wide range of functionality, such as live data. They also perform monitoring of the ABS and also run airbag systems. Most of the scanners in this range have the same level features as the top-level scanners but use Bluetooth technology. They are, therefore, less expensive than their wired counterparts with similar functionality. Despite that, some manufacturers provide mid-range wired scanners within that price range.
The OBD2 scanner within this budget or higher offers more than you pay for. In other words, it has a broader range of features that were initially reserved for professional mechanics. Some of the tens of features available are ABS monitoring, SRS, advanced code reading, and transmission reading. Some of the scanners in this range are bidirectional scanners that read codes and input them. Others are Bluetooth or WiFi-enabled and actually come with their own tablets with preinstalled apps.
What to Consider When Buying Scanners
While looking for a scanner within your budget, you should consider a few things to ensure you get a suitable scanner for the job. Here are the factors to consider before buying an OBD2 scanner.
Why are You Buying it For?
The first thing to consider is the type of work you want to perform with the scanner. If you want one that can read the check engine light, you only need a scanner capable of reading codes. If you constantly work on your vehicles or are a car reviewer, you need a more advanced OBD2 scanner. If you are a mechanic, then you need the top-range scanner. The more features a scanner has, the more it will cost.
Most OBD2 scanners use a wired connection, which is incredible. Others use a wireless connection, which is also fantastic, depending on your needs. Each has its advantages, and the type of connection really determines the price.
Using a wired-connected scanner eliminates the need for additional batteries by tapping into the vehicle’s power. Some come with batteries to scan codes when the car’s battery power is low.
If you prefer reading codes remotely, then you need the wireless scanner. A wireless scanner uses Bluetooth or WiFi to relay information from the module to your smartphone or PC. It allows you to conveniently read all the codes through an app on your smartphone.
Not all scanners are compatible with every car model. Check if a scanner works with your car before you spend money on it. Also, ensure the scanner will work for any other car you might have or intend to buy. Most Ancel scanners are compatible with USA-based, Asian-based, and European-based models but always double-check before you order one.
Difference Between Cheap and Expensive OBD2 Scanners
It would make sense to buy a more affordable scanner because you are on a budget, but buying the cheapest scanner for under $20 wouldn’t end well in the long run. The most affordable ones have a read-only readiness monitor, check-and-reset, and real-time running figures. Even though the cheap scanners can perform these tasks, there are functions that you’d want and will require that you upgrade your scanner.
A more expensive scanner will help you run most diagnostics at pro-level. They are easy to set up and provide faults and explanations. They also run I/M readiness checks and offer a high-level accuracy. Moreover, they provide live data and detect intermittent problem, and display graphs which is visual representation comparing before and after. Even though scanners with these features are slightly expensive, they are worth the investment.
OBD2 scanners are very affordable, and most car owners already have them. They are simple to use, and the mechanic will not run a scanner on your car if you have already done it, so you save money. Mechanics charge $100 on average to run scans. Several Ancel scanners are available for under $100 with all essential features. They also support most car models manufactured after 1996. Contact us if you need help ordering an Ancel scanner.