Best Professional Automotive Diagnostic Scanner 2019 Reviews

Finding the best scan tools can be difficult. If you are looking for a scan tool for your vehicle that you can use in your own home garage, then you’ll be able to use one for the purpose of checking your vehicle and being able to make repairs or maintenance if need be (assuming you are mechanically inclined). Alternatively, you can take it to your local shop where it can be fixed. Knowing the issues before it’s too late is a good way to save yourself the money and even the frustration of dealing with vehicle issues.

While there are a lot of scan tools available on the market, we’ve managed to handpick five based on the characteristics and features that we believe stood out the best. Before we unveil our list, we’ll be discussing whether or not they are really that important to use while working on your car or truck. We’ll also be talking about what you need to look for while finding your own scan tool.

Are you a professional mechanic or an auto shop owner and need an advanced automotive diagnostic scanner? Then, this post for you. As a professional mechanic, I have used lots of diagnostic scanners.

So, it is not hard for me to create a list of the best professional automotive diagnostic scanner. I have found Autel scanners, and Launch scanners are the most reliable for professionals. And I have listed here the most popular automotive scanners according to their speed, accuracy, functionality and advanced features.

Related: Best OBD2 Scanner Reviews - Buyer's Guide

If you’re a professional auto mechanic or a car repair shop owner, then you know how important it is to have a powerful and accurate diagnostic scanner. A good professional scanner should comprise of basic, advanced, and special features. It should also offer extensive vehicle coverage and be internet updateable in order to diagnose the most recent fixes.

Comparison of the Best Professional Automotive Diagnostic Scanners

PRODUCT DETAILS
gm2-table__image

BlueDriver LSB2 Bluetooth Pro OBDII

  • Best overall scan tool
  • Certified for Apple and Android device use
  • Reads your “Check Engine” light and other systems
View Latest Price
gm2-table__image

Foseal Car WIFI OBD 2

  • iOs and Android supported
  • Compatible with several vehicle models
  • Runner-up for the best scan tool for home mechanics
View Latest Price
gm2-table__image

Autel AutoLink AL319

  • Best scan tool for the money
  • Plug and Play feature for easy use
  • Works with vehicles dated from 1996 or later
View Latest Price
gm2-table__image

FOXWELL NT510

  • Ergonomic design
  • Scans and reads various car functions
  • Simple, easy to understand stats on screen
View Latest Price
gm2-table__image

Autel MaxiCOM MK808

  • 7-inch touch screen
  • Excellent for most vehicles
  • Designed for full-system diagnostics
View Latest Price

Are Scan Tools Important While Working on Cars and Trucks?

In a word, yes they are. Because when you are working on a car or truck, it’s important to catch the issue and fix it on the fly (even when you have the right kind of tools on hand). You can even do your scans even if you’re simply doing something routine like an oil change or regular maintenance that needs to be done after accruing a specific amount of miles. It’s a lot better to catch these issues early rather than find out when it’s actually too late.

What to Look for When Buying Scan Tools

While looking for a scan tool that will work to your advantage, you’re going to need to know some of the key things that make a scan tool stand out. In fact, it will help you determine which scan tool is better than any other on the market. Here are the following things you need to look for:

Price

Yes, the price matters to most buyers. But it shouldn’t be the be-all-to-end-all decision. If you must find one while you are on a budget, find one of the best quality and performance that you can afford. In other words, don’t go for cheap or you’ll end up disappointed. 

Find Out What it Can Scan

The thing is, you can scan all kinds of stats that are vital to your vehicle’s performance and health. And you can find out which part of your vehicle needs to be looked at for any potential concerns that could get worse. Your stats include but are not limited to your gas mileage, tire pressure, temperature, and RPM among others. If you notice something being a little off, you’re probably seeing what might be a symptom of an underlying issue. 

Easy to Use

Let’s face it: you’ll need a scan tool that will be easy to use instead of being complex. You don’t need technical skills or be computer literate to understand scan tools. You’ll want something that will give you accurate and dependable readings at the touch of a button. How is that for ease of use? Find one that will stand out as one of the simplest to use tools and you’ll won’t have to struggle with any confusion or feel stupid about what stats are what. 

Quick Take - Best Scan Tools For Home Mechanics

In a hurry? Here's a snapshot of the best scan tools for home mechanics:

  1. BlueDriver LSB2 Bluetooth Pro OBDII
  2. Foseal Car WIFI OBD 2
  3. Autel AutoLink AL319

Review of the Best Scan Tools For Home Mechanics

The following is a list of the five best scan tools for home mechanics. It’s important that you make a note of the features and characteristics of each one so you are able to make sure that the tool you’re interested in is something that you’ll enjoy for the long term. You’ll need one of these if you intend to keep on top of your vehicle’s health and overall function. Let’s begin by taking a look at the first tool on our list -- our “best overall” choice:

BlueDriver Bluetooth Pro OBDII Scan Tool for iPhone & Android

PROS

  • Easy to read - Perfect for beginners
  • Can easily connect to Android or Apple device
  • Does a good job reading your vehicle’s diagnostics
  • Makes scheduling maintenance appointments easily since you can read the stats
  • Saves a lot of money that could go to either a new car or an expensive mechanical bill

CONS

  • Some say it may be a bit overpriced
  • May not be suitable for some diesel vehicles
  • Some are disappointed with the overall functionality

What Recent Buyers Report

A lot of new users were able to make easy to understand reads of their vehicles using this tool. They said that it was easy to install and easy to use. One user said that even on a vehicle that was made in the early 2000s, it still worked like a charm and managed to give him accurate (and error-free readings). 

Why it Stands Out to Us 

This scan tool is compatible with Bluetooth. So it will work great with your phone (Android or Apple). With the right app, you’ll be able to get your readings in no time. While we’re at it, it’s a tool that will save all your data from past scans. So if you want to take a look back at the scan history and see whether or not if you were missing a potential problem without ever knowing there was one, you will look back and see what stat appeared off. 

Who Will Use This Most?

This will be used for those who want something that is simple to use and easy to read with the help of their trusty smartphone. If you need a scan tool that requires the best technology without being a techie yourself, then you’ll want a tool like this to be at your disposal. And best of all, it takes little to no time to set up at all. And from there, you can read your stats right on the phone. 

Bottom Line

The BlueDriver uses cutting edge technology that will allow you to read your vehicle’s stats and understand them better. You’d be surprised what your smartphone will be able to do with the help of this handy dandy tool. It proves itself to be one of the best of the bunch and for a few good reasons.

Foseal Car WIFI OBD 2 OBD2 OBDII Scan Tool Scanner Adapter Check Engine Diagnostic Tool for iOS & Android

PROS

  • Easy to plug in and set up
  • Easy to connect with your phone
  • Readings are accurate on the app
  • Provides easy to understand readings of your vehicle
  • Works for various vehicles and models (including older models)

CONS

  • May be incompatible with some vehicles
  • Might not pick up on some stats due to potential delays
  • May not be compatible with some apps that can be used for reading

What Recent Buyers Report

Many recent buyers were happy with this tool. They plugged it in and got it to work in a minute or less. They managed to scan their vehicles in a short amount of time to read the stats that were most important. Even one user said that he got an error message that led to a trip to the mechanic shop. Sure enough, he said that he was able to get it in before the engine could fair due to overheating. In short, he added that it definitely saved him a whole lot of trouble. 

Why it Stands Out to Us 

Once again, we look at a tool that allows users to get easy to understand readings right to their phones. This time, there is a tool known as the OBD Car Doctor that will make reading your vehicle’s diagnostics a breeze. It will read everything from your vehicle’s idle RPM to your engine’s temperature without the complicated equipment or tech knowledge. This will perhaps be one of the best tools you can use for almost any vehicle you own. So if you have a Mazda, Nissan, Ford, or Chevy (among many others), this is the tool that’s right for you.

Who Will Use This Most?

This will be a great scan tool for those who are just looking for a simple plug and play tool for their phones. If your vehicle is a new or older model, this will give you easier readings than almost any scan tool on the market. Best of all, you can bet that you’ll nip your vehicle issues (if any) right at home. 

Bottom Line

The Foseal Scan Tool is another one of the innovative scan tools that will best be used if you have a smartphone. Just plug this into your vehicle and you’ll be able to get the best readings in a matter of minutes, not hours. Not bad for a tool that can work for both newer and older car models across the board. 

Best for the Money: 
Autel AutoLink AL319

Autel AutoLink AL319 Universal OBD2 Reader Car Diagnostic Scanner Tool Vehicle Engine Fault Code Reader

PROS

  • Easy to navigate and set up
  • Affordable for most budgets
  • Essential for car maintenance
  • Works with several vehicle models
  • Easy to read stats available on screen in minutes

CONS

  • Supports only one language
  • Some say the software is considered to be inferior
  • A few have complained that it takes a long time to load

What Recent Buyers Report

As expected, a lot of new users had nothing but great things to say about this scan tool. All they needed to do was plug this puppy into their vehicle and they got their readings in a short amount of time. Even one user said that this worked like a charm on his 1999 Nissan Pathfinder that he had owned for a while now. Overall, the readings were accurate and scanning was a breeze. 

Why it Stands Out to Us 

While this scanner isn’t as genius as those that use a smartphone app, this scanner is anything but useless. It’s able to scan your vehicle and will give you simple to read stats that will make sure your vehicle is in working order. If something seems amiss, then this scanner will easily pick it up at the snap of a finger. So if you want something that is simple to use without complicated technology, this tool will be your go-to choice. And since it doesn’t need a smartphone to work, you’re probably breathing a sigh of relief at the moment.

Who Will Use This Most?

This will be a great starter tool for those looking for something that will be easy to use (and affordable at the same time). Whether you upgrade to a new scan tool or not is entirely up to you. But this bad boy will be reliable and accurate each time you use it. You can detect issues with this before they ever happen. If you want to save your vehicle from certain disaster, use this tool to your advantage and keep an eye out for those error messages. If there isn’t any, you should definitely be in the clear.

Bottom Line

The Autel Autolink is the one scan tool that you can be able to use without complicated technology or breaking the bank. If you want a tool that will make sure you stay on top of your vehicle maintenance or diagnose your potential issues, this one will definitely be of service. And for the price it’s going for, you’re going to get a lot more than what you pay for. 

FOXWELL Obdspace NT510 Full-System Diagnostic Scan Tool for Bmw, Mini,Rolls-Royce with CBS Reset, Oil Service Reset, EPB,DPF and Throttle Body Adjustment Functions

PROS

  • Plugs in and installs easily
  • Consistently performs correct diagnoses 
  • Easy to navigate from one screen to the next
  • Works with most vehicles across different makes and models
  • Saves users a ton of money on what could be potential mechanic bills

CONS

  • Little tech support is available
  • The software may need to be updated
  • Some have complained that the scanner contains bugs and glitches

What Recent Buyers Report

Most of the new buyers were able to install this on their vehicle’s console and got the readings they needed to ensure that their vehicles were in good shape. They were also happy with the fact that this tool could pick up a lot of errors that could have lead to more disasters down the road. One user said that he learned about a failing sensor thanks to this tool showing him stats that appeared out of place.

Why it Stands Out to Us 

This tool is built to be used in the shop and on the road. This should be considered the American Express card of scanning tools: you don’t leave home without it. So if you want something that you can easily take with you and be able to make on the fly readings if something doesn’t feel right, this tool will certainly be of good use to you. 

Who Will Use This Most?

This is another scanner that might be best used by beginners. It might be a great tool for those who are not on board with the whole smartphone thing (we won’t judge you if you’re one of those folks, we promise). It’s a scanner that will read every nook and cranny of your vehicle and inform you of any issues ahead of any impending disaster. 

Bottom Line

The Foxwell NT510 is hands down one of the most reliable scan tools that you can use both on the road or at home. No matter where you are if you can get the readings you need in an effort to make sure that your vehicle is running smoothly, this is the tool you’ll want to go with. And if you get anything suspicious, you might just be close by from a mechanic who will take a look at what’s going on under the hood. 

Autel MaxiDAS? DS708

PROS

  • Accurate and reliable readings
  • Compatible with various vehicles
  • Can quickly load before initial use
  • Easy to read and understand stats
  • Scans your whole system in minutes

CONS

  • May not work with some luxury models
  • Some have complained about hard to find items
  • Loading time may differ depending on the vehicle

What Recent Buyers Report

A lot of new users were happy with this scanning tool. They said this tool reminded them of a computer that they could take on the go to do their diagnostics. As expected, they were happy with the accurate readings and they said that it covered the entire vehicle itself. They also added that while their scans came back negative for any issues, they were confident that it would save them time, money, and further hassle. 

Why it Stands Out to Us 

This might be one of the best looking scanning tools for home and auto shop use. The 7-inch touch screen makes usability a breeze and you won’t have to navigate it using hard to press or sticky buttons. All you need to do is plug this sucker into your vehicle’s console and watch it go to work. If you want a tool that makes diagnosing stuff easy and can pick up concerning issues in a snap, this might be the scanning tool that you can depend on for all your diagnostic needs. Before you know it, you can make the determination of whether or not you can get it fixed by a mechanic or yourself (if you know what you’re doing). 

Who Will Use This Most?

This will be an excellent tool for mechanics and people alike. Especially the latter that don’t consider themselves mechanically inclined. You’ll be able to read out your vehicle’s stats at the touch of a button and be able to determine whether or not there there are some things that need to be looked at closely (and lead to a possible repair). It’s the kind of tool that will get the job done and diagnose every part of your vehicle where functionality is a must. 

Bottom Line

The Autel MaxiCom is probably going to work for you if you love the technical features it has or if you want something that will fully scan your vehicle’s every function. Don’t be surprised if this ends up being the tool you end up using for the long-term. It can read everything and can not skip any issues over. 

Advantages of Investing in a Quality Scan Tool 

Having a good scan tool on hand will definitely give you some pretty sweet benefits. If you don’t get one, you’re definitely going to miss out. Here are some advantages you’ll get to enjoy:

You’ll Catch Major Issues Before They Happen

You can be able to determine an issue by the way the stats appear off. If your idle RPM is unusual, for example, you know that you’re dealing with a problem. If your engine seems a bit warmer than normal, it’s a matter of getting it taken care of and fast. These tools will help you catch the problem before things get worse.

Saves You a Ton of Money

Not only does this save you a ton of money, but it eliminates a lot of guesswork done by you or the mechanic. All you have to do is be able to determine the error codes and your mechanic will know what it is and go from there. This will cut the time in half (and even your mechanic bill won’t be so large). All it will cost you is the replacement of the parts if needed. 

It Focuses on the Entire Vehicle

Yes, some tools focus on tire pressure. And some others cover a wide variety of stats while ignoring others. So you’ll be able to get all the readings you’ll need in order to know what’s working and what needs to be worked on.

How to Use a Scan Tool

Knowing how to use a scan tool is easy once you learn. Here are the following steps you’ll need to take: 

  1. First, it’s important to determine what tool you’ll need. If your vehicle is older (i.e.-- pre-1996) you’ll need an OBD-I scan tool. If it’s from 1996 or later, an OBD-II tool is what you’ll need. 
  2. Plug the tool into the DLC or the diagnostic link connector in your vehicle. These are typically located on the left-hand side of your dashboard or below the steering wheel.
  3. Once the tool is plugged in and turned on, you’ll need to enter the VIN number. Depending on the scanner, you may need to specify what type of ending you’re running. 
  4. Navigate the menu. The item that you’ll need to look for should contain the codes. If there are active codes, they will be lit up. To understand the codes, consider the following: P= Powertrain, B= Body, C= Chassis, U= Unidentified
  5. If there are any codes, be sure to look them up. They can be available online or your vehicle user manual.
  6. You can also be able to reset your check engine light as well. If it doesn’t clear after the necessary repairs have been made, you can reset the light by accessing the “reset check engine light” option that is located on most main menus.

Conclusion

The best scan tool is out there. It’s important that you find one that will scan your vehicle in minutes and give you accurate readings that will help you have peace of mind. If you have issues with your vehicle, you can fix the issue yourself or take it to a certified mechanic. These tools will help keep you on top of your vehicle’s functionality. 

Finding the best scan tool for your job or task is very important. This is because a scan tool that is great for one person may be not for another. Therefore, make the right choice and get a scan tool with the features and functions that you want. Hope you’ve found this best professional automotive diagnostic scanner to be informative.

People Also Ask

Which Top Scan Tool Brands Should I Consider Buying From?

There are lots of automotive diagnostic scanner brands out there but not all of them are to be trusted. Some of the re-known and highly recommended scanner brands are Innova, Autel, Launch, Foxwell, Ancel, and some few others.

What is an ECU? 

ECU in full means engine control unit and it is sometimes referred to as engine control module. The ECU is a type of electronic control unit that controls a series of actuators on an internal combustion engine to ensure optimal performance. It performs this by reading values from a multitude of sensors within the engine bay, interpreting the information utilizing multidimensional performance maps and changing the engine actuators as needed.

What Do I Have to Do if the Light Goes Out Before Performing a Car Diagnosis? 

In this scenario, you should do nothing at all. This is because it is possible that the issue that caused the light to come on has been tackled and the OBD computer turned it off. It is also not an indication of a bad OBD system. When such a situation occurs, there is a high chance that a loose gas cap was tightened or a fouled spark plug was cleared.

Still, have a question after reading this best professional automotive diagnostic scanner? Comment below.

1 thought on “Best Professional Automotive Diagnostic Scanner 2019 Reviews”

  1. Autel Elite J2534 is a good model to do key programming.
    Launch X431 V is not bad if you want a full bidirectional scan tool.

Leave a Comment