Best OBD2 Scanners for Mechanics

In the hands of a mechanic, OBD2 scanners have become modern wonder-tools. Almost any vehicles onboard ODBII system can be read within minutes, often revealing crucial fault-finding information.

With this head start, the time spent diagnosing issues is significantly reduced, and final testing can be performed with greater accuracy. Professional mechanics of all sizes are using OBD2 scanners work more efficiently and perform repairs with increased confidence.

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In a search to find the best obd2 scanner for mechanics, we considered the specific demands placed on their tools:

  • Tough and grubby working environments
  • Increased use and longer working life
  • Requirement for time-saving features and functions

With these points in mind, we have tracked down 3 of the highest performing OBD2 scanners. To further assist you in making the most suitable choice, we have split them into three categories:

The Best OBD2 Scanner for Home Mechanics: Autel AutoLink AL319

Autel Autolink

Autel’s offering is an excellent choice for those who regularly work on vehicles at home. It is tougher competing products in this price range and provides more extensive diagnostic information.

The minimal design with simple buttons for control is coupled with an intuitive display. Home mechanics can rely on this OBD2 scanner to perform time and time again!

Pros:

  • Live data display with freeze frame function for greater analysis.
  • Simple navigation often requires just 1-2 button pushes to initiate

Cons:

  • Build quality is reasonable for the price, however, it may not stand up to daily abuse
  • Supplied instructions are not very helpful, thankfully, it doesn’t take long to get to grips with

Our Verdict:

The Autel AL319 is an excellent choice for the entry-level price bracket. It’s an affordable device that provides home mechanics with powerful diagnostic features. It’s easy to use and stands up to more punishment than cheaper scanner tools.

The Best ODB2 Scanner for Professional Mechanics: INNOVA 3150

INNOVA 3150

If you need a step up in terms of features, the Innova 3150 is a sound investment. You will struggle to find a more affordable OBD2 scanner that can read ABS and SRS codes.

Live data views laid out into clear graphs and tables, with data playback and tracking also available from the display. Another handy feature is the battery backup module, allowing for further analysis away from the vehicle.

Pros:

  • Automatically refreshed data makes it easy to view changes/fixes in action
  • Battery backup is especially useful in workshop environments

Cons:

  • Often you have to refer to CanOBD2.com for further diagnosis of codes and a list of causes
  • You need to purchase an additional USB-Serial to output data to a PC

Our Verdict:

The Innova 3150 is a professional OBD2 scanner, well suited to mechanics that will rely on it regularly. It’s also one of the most affordable OBD2 scanners for reading and erasing SRS indicators.

Referring to the website for full diagnostic information isn’t as painful as it sounds. In fact, this valuable resource contains far more useful information than would be comfortable on the device display.

The Best ODB2 Scanner for Vehicle Tuners: Autel DS708

Autel DS708

The Autel DS708 is not merely a powerful OBDII scanner; it’s a full automotive diagnostic and analysis system. It’s clearly engineered to replicate all functions of OEM tools with advanced feature such as ECU programming.

Best of all, functions that are often exclusive to a number of OEM tools are all neatly contained within this robust handheld unit. The tablet form also provides an unrivalled display for live OBDII data.

Pros: 

  • Uni-SCANTM system greatly reduces the need for extra adapters or keys
  • Touch screen is visually superior to traditional scanner tools and easier to navigate
  • Wi-Fi capability enables wireless data-logging around the workshop

Cons:

  • It’s a significant investment for small garages or individuals at almost $1000
  • Navigation of the menus can feel disjointed at times. At times, it is better to search for model, and during others, for engine

 

Our Verdict: 

Hands down, one of the most comprehensive automotive analysis systems on the market. For engine tuners who a convenient portal, to view and modify advanced parameters, for a wide variety of models, the Autel DS708 is the ultimate choice.

The software can be updated to maintain compatibility with new models; this is a distinct advantage over OEM tools that often require new hardware (at great cost).