Best Automotive diagnostic tools

The best car diagnostic tools of 2020. Look for professional OBD2 scanners for your auto and find out what is wrong with your “check engine” light comes on. Know what went wrong with your best car diagnostic tool.

Car maintenance can be challenging and often come at the worst times. When your car’s “Check Engine” light appears then you need to start worrying what is wrong. Why? The correct car evaluation is important.

The best car diagnostic tool is vital because you really need to know what is wrong to figure out how serious the problem could be overall. Before contacting a mechanic, a car diagnostic tool will help you diagnose the problem, avoid more serious problems, and save money.

Scan and diagnostic tools are an effective and affordable way to guarantee safety and maximum comfort as a driver.


Top Picks: Automotive Diagnostic Tools Highlights


Top 10 Best Car Diagnostic Scan Tools

Best Popular Car Diagnostic Tool

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The Autel Maxiscan diagnostic tool is a highly rated and reliable tool. There are some basic limitations you will experience with this tool, but it does the job. Overall, it is a low cost option and it is effective in being able to clear codes from older to newer cars.

If you are looking for a car diagnostic tool that is effective and economical then the Autel Maxiscan is best for you. The design is basic and not ideal for anyone looking for a quick fix, but it will show the error codes and clear them.

This diagnostic tool is mechanic approved and more than reliable. There is a claim that you can go back as far as 1996 for using this to diagnose and clear the codes of your vehicle. However, you need to be already handy and DIY minded to be able to find out exactly what is wrong with your car on a budget.

Basic operation starts with plugging the cable in the car’s OBD2 port beneath the dashboard. By engaging, almost immediately all you need to do is press the enter button to start scanning for codes. Moreover, the code will appear if there is a problem or display no codes.
All in all, this is a wonderful scanner for anyone into cars and finding what is wrong with your vehicle. The design and operations are basic, but it is priced at a super economical price.

Read Customer Reviews on Amazon!

Why We Recommend It:
  • Economical price will be good for your pocketbook
  • Popular and highly rated on Amazon for its basic functionality
  • Reliable in identifying codes and clearing codes all the same
You need to pay attention to It:
  • Basic and limited operation and design overall, so don’t expect detailed information or diagnostics
  • Built and designed for a DIY car person more than a first time user

Best Overall Car Diagnostic Tool

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The Nexpeak scanner is often considered one of the best scanners for versatility and advanced onboard monitoring. You can not beat this scanner tool for price, versatility, speed, and more. Also, this tool provides maximum compatibility to all cars and top notch features.

All in all, the best thing about this scanner is compatibility. Why? You can use this to diagnose problems with nearly all American vehicles made from 1996 onward. Moreover, the type of vehicles you can test include SUVs, light trucks, and even as well 12V diesel type models.

In terms of operation, the Nexpeak OBD II engine scanner is fairly easy to use and accessible for many code issues and vehicle problems. You have the ability to do plug and play intuitive reading for more general to specific codes. No batteries of extra apps included though.

Moreover, the Nexpeak has the capacity to read and erase fault codes. For instance, you can present unique sensor data that show specific auto indicators. You can as well utilize an O2 sensor to do an EVAP test along with a monitor and evaluate battery voltage.

In conclusion, the data is versatile and offers advanced monitoring with easy operational testing and diagnosing. If you want an accurate and overall quality scanner then this is best.

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Why We Recommend It:
  • Top quality versatility and ability to do a variety of diagnostics from basic to more complex scanning
  • Affordable price considering the advanced features; cost effective and high performing capacity
  • Maximum compatibility as you can read nearly American vehicle types since 1996
You need to pay attention to It:
  • The directions from the included manual can be seen as confusing and not straight forward
  • Not as mobile friendly as other more tech savvy scan diagnostic tools

Best for Mobile Users Car Diagnostic Tool

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Veepeak makes one of the leading diagnostic tools for mobile users; affordable as well and intuitive. This scanner will diagnose car problems, compatible and easy to use while accessing Bluetooth technology.

This diagnostic scanner works with Android devices and PC browsers. Furthermore, you have a very clever and affordable scanner for vehicle owners to check on engine lights and evaluate car sensors. The Veepeak is a good option for technologically forward users.

Expect concise diagnostic evaluations that will provide diagnostic trouble codes, reset engine malfunction codes, and even see if your car is ready for a smog check. There are a number of things you can rely on that are basic for diagnostic tools in addition to extras like being ready for a smog check.

Mobile accessibility is key, so you can control this diagnostic tool with your phone, tablet, or PC. You are able to utilize and view your vehicle performance, sensor data, fuel/gas economy, and even log and track your trips. The personalization is more than you’d expect for a diagnostic tool.

Overall, an economical option for anyone seeking a mobile diagnostic tool for a variety of issues and tracking auto auto indicators like engine coolant and oil temperature. This is a very wise and popular option for technology forward car enthusiasts.

Read Customer Reviews on Amazon!

Why We Recommend It:
  • Ideal and easy to use mobile accessibility and functionality with mobile technology
  • Ability to track auto indicators like engine coolant level and oil temperature.
  • Affordable price and easy to use if you are an Android or PC user
You need to pay attention to It:
  • Not compatible with Apple iOS Phone and iPad, so note the limitations
  • Connectivity issues may be present on compatible devices at times, so patience is needed

Best Advanced Car Diagnostic Tool

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You can’t find another scanner that is top rated, popular, and as advanced and professional as the Foxwell NT301 model. This is a scanner built for auto professionals and consumers alike looking to help you understand your car and diagnose any issues.

One of the few diagnostic tools that will give you preventative advice and in the long run help you save. How? Basically, the Foxwell offers an early warning system to aid you in locating dangers before they happen.

You will get yellow, red, and green LED lights to indicate the exact status or auto health indicator of your vehicle. This is the ultimate tool scanner for preventative care for your car.

Another benefit to the Foxwell NT301 is the ease of use. Basically, this is a very easy tool scanner to use for first time users especially. The OBDII code reader has been well regarded for its accuracy and design for over 10 years now.

In summary, this is the perfect tool for anyone looking for detailed diagnostic data. On the other hand, the Foxwell NT301 is great for beginners in terms of getting the job done and diagnosing your car. Expect a tool that will give you indicators from EGR valves, fuel trim, O2 sensors, and much more.

Read Customer Reviews on Amazon!

Why We Recommend It:
  • Features “Early Warning” system for exposing early symptoms of potentially more serious car problems
  • LED notifications and detailed diagnostic data; auto mechanic and advanced use appreciated
  • Easy to use tool and scanner for maximum convenience
You need to pay attention to It:
  • Software is not intuitive for new users to car diagnostic technology and tool scanners
  • No power button on tool; requires computer or vehicle for powering

Best Premium Car Diagnostic Tool

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The Autel Autolink scanner is compatible with many cars; incredibly versatile and technologically advanced compared to other scanners. Expect high accessiblity, detailed codes; as well lifetime free software updates for tech savvy users.

A scanner tool that guarantees the ability to be able diagnose more than 50 cars from the USA, Asia, and Europe. So, whether you have a Honda or Fiat or BMW then this may be the best scanner for you.

Emporia makes an easy and convenient monitor that requires no advanced setup. So, expect a simple and easy set up that makes the Emporia quite attractive. As well, you will have 24-7 real time energy monitoring along with easy WiFi accessibility.

Convenient and easy to set up is the main draw of this monitor. Therefore, setting up the Emporia monitor requires little effort. You don’t need a professional electrician, instead all you end up doing is trying to set and mount the monitor around your electrical panel for a signal. So, it is a quick set up all in all.

The monitoring is all day and every hour and minute of evaluative reporting. You get the ability to prevent costly repairs for potential electrical issues, to enhance conserving energy, and even do solar monitoring along with net metering if desired.

In conclusion, the Emporia monitor will be a great deal in terms of its price. In addition, the data usage evaluation and monitoring is fairly precise. Moreover, another worthwhile thing to point out is how the circuit monitors give you the ability to pick what particular devices you want to monitor and evaluate for energy usage and consumption.

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Why We Recommend It:
  • Affordable price for anyone looking to save money compared to other brands
  • Precise and accurate data monitoring
  • Individual monitoring of different appliances for more accuracy of energy usage
You need to pay attention to It:
  • Less sophisticated in terms of features compared to higher end monitors
  • Visual displays of energy usage are harder to read

Best Classic Car Diagnostic Tool

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Foseal makes a classic handheld designed scanner that is quick and accurate. Moreover, the scanner is easy to use, and fast; an incredible classic model that any beginner can use to read error codes and get results right away.

The advantages to this scanner are numerous beyond just being handy and well designed. For instance, you get the ability to have a scanner that is more than just a basic diagnostic code reader. Why? The ease of use and comfort to use this and of course the efficiency.

Basically, you start by plugging in the scanner into your car’s OBD II DLC. From there, the unit functions simple enough and is powered up to begin to prompt you to start your car. Furthermore, once the car is on you will either see the check engine light appear or not.

The Foseal will read the error codes after scanning, so you will find out what exactly may be an issue or problems. The best thing about this scanner is that it may save you money if you find out that the problem is easy to fix.

Overall, the big advantages are the large LCD display for easy and convenient use, the ability frame codes and get detailed definitions of problems, and a clear and lengthy user manual for help and guidance. You can not find a more well rounded diagnostic tool in the market.

Read Customer Reviews on Amazon!

Why We Recommend It:
  • Handheld design makes this easy to use and convenient for quick access and troubleshooting
  • Large LCD display for reading codes and getting detailed information and definitions
  • Easy to use for any level of car enthusiast or average consumer
You need to pay attention to It:
  • Basic features compared to higher end diagnostic scanners
  • The code reader only works on 12 volt vehicles and cars only

Benefits of Buying a Car Diagnostic Tool

For many car owners, saving money is vital. However, being able to diagnose and forecast how your car will operate or whether it will breakdown is even more crucial.  Here are some clear advantages for buying a car diagnostic tool for your vehicle.

  • Save Money

Diagnosing and going to a mechanic, but doing it yourself with a diagnostic tool saves money.

  • Check for Serious Problems

You can avoid a serious problem before it disables the car and saves or minimizes damage to your vehicle.

  • To Gain Knowledge

If you have to take your car for a serious repair then at least gain knowledge and information about your vehicle issues.


Car Diagnostic Scan Tool Guide

These are the main indicators and characteristics you need to look for in a car diagnostic tool.

  • Compatibility

By far, this is the most important thing to look for because you need to make sure your diagnostic tool will be readable for the car you have, so look for tools that read many different car types.

  • Accessibility

Not all diagnostic tools act the same way, so make sure to find one that works for you. Look for WiFi, good design, powering source, and even Bluetooth capacity.

  • Ease of Use

Some diagnostic tools are easy to use while others are more complex and confusing to operate. You need to look for the best models that are able to diagnose your car issues fast and efficiently, therefore look for this in a diagnostic tool.

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