Best CAN OBD II Scanners Review 2021 – Buyer’s Guide

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There are five OBD II communication protocols on cars since the OBD II became integral to vehicles in 1996. This review will discuss the best CAN OBD II scanners and whether they differ from a regular OBD2 scanner. We will also talk about other OBD II protocols and why CAN became a standard for modern cars in 2008.

IMAGE PRODUCT
  • Covers all car systems - engine, transmission, SRS, and ABS
  • Shows 4 live data streams on one screen
  • Intuitive interface and robust rubber housing
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  • Functional but affordable
  • Reads and clears diagnostic trouble codes
  • Supports various OBD II protocols
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  • Displays the code and its textual definition in one screen
  • Large LCD for clearer views
  • Fewer buttons for easier navigation
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Ancel FX2000 - Best Overall

Ancel FX2000 CAN OBD II Scanner

PROS

  • Covers all car systems - engine, transmission, SRS, and ABS
  • Shows 4 live data streams on one screen
  • Compatible with US, European, and Asian cars
  • Intuitive interface and robust rubber housing
  • Lifetime free update

CONS

  • Compatible only with 12-volt battery vehicles
  • Does not work on some car models

What Recent Buyers Report

This scanner saved many users money because they could now work on minor issues with their cars. After all, the diagnosis is straightforward, and you can check it within the scanner in just minutes without needing an internet connection. The rubber housing and the gaming-type format are also helpful for easier navigation.

Why It Stands Out to Us

Like a regular OBD2 scanner, the Ancel FX2000 CAN OBD II Scanner reads trouble codes, clears the check engine light, displays live and freeze frame data, and performs onboard monitor tests. Aside from engine codes, it also reads and clears ABS, SRS, and transmission trouble codes.

It also has an offline DTC library where you input your trouble codes and get a textual definition of the particular code. It is also compatible with the 10 OBD2 modes and all OBD2 and CAN vehicles.

You can also upload your data to the Ancel website and print it using Windows XP, 7, 8, and 10 operating systems.

We also love the large 3.5-inch TFT screen with color backlight and two-hand operation for easier navigation. With the diagnostic scan tool, you also get an OBD2 cable, USB cable, 16GB TF card, TF card adapter, user manual, and update guide.

Who Will Use This Most

Owners of a small fleet of cars will love to have this scanner in their garage since it is compatible with US, European, and Asian vehicles.

MotoPower MP69033 CAN OBD2 Scanner

PROS

  • Affordable
  • Adjustable contrast on the LCD
  • Compact design with a 2.5-ft long cable
  • 2-year warranty
  • Free technical assistance

CONS

  • Reads only engine-related diagnostic trouble codes
  • May have trouble working with Asian cars

What Recent Buyers Report

This diagnostics scan tool is straightforward to use, which many users love. Other users called this OBD2 scanner their best friend because it saved them visits to a professional mechanic.

Why It Stands Out to Us

The MotoPower MP69033 CAN OBD2 Scanner delivers a high level of usability. The built-in DTC lookup library makes it easy to identify the cause of an engine light. It can read and erase codes, view freeze frames, perform I/M readiness tests, calculate load value, engine coolant temperature, and get engine speed.

It can also retrieve vehicle information, vehicle speed information, and other engine-related data useful for any newbie mechanic who does not have enough experience in using diagnostic tools.

The CAN OBD2 scanner uses five protocols to work with more cars than any other scan tool on the market and offers support for a broader range of languages. It also supports six languages - English, German, Dutch, Spanish, French, and Italian.

It also has a 2.5-ft long cable with a very thick flexible insulator, a backlit display with adjustable contrast, and six buttons to navigate the menu. 

Who Will Use This Most

These groups will love to have the MotoPower MP69033 CAN OBD2 Scanner in their garage arsenal. People who are not mechanics or auto enthusiasts but need to find out what is wrong with their car, and mechanics and automotive experts who want a more accurate diagnosis of the issue and tools for troubleshooting.

OBSCar OS601 CAN OBD II Scanner

PROS

  • Compatible with most car manufacturers
  • Reads and clears trouble codes
  • Performs readiness tests
  • Stores and retrieves DTCs, freeze frame data, live data, etc.
  • Supports all OBD II protocols

CONS

  • Does not support ABS, SRS, and transmission codes
  • Not for use on trucks and more oversized vehicles

What Recent Buyers Report

Most users say that it is simple and easy to use and saves you money for simple diagnostics. A few users reported that it is not compatible with all cars, but they still recommend the scanner. Just be sure to check against your car's compatibility before getting this CAB OBD II scanner.

Why It Stands Out to Us

In many ways, the CAN OBD II scanner is a lot like other OBD2 code scanners. You can use it to read engine-related fault codes and erase them after your repair, thereby resetting the check engine light on your car. It also displays freeze frame data, data logs, onboard monitor test data, etc.

It is compatible with US, European, and Asian cars from 1996 and later: Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, GM, Jeep, Lincoln, Cadillac, Buick, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, VW, Audi, Skoda, Volvo, Saab, Opel, Jaguar, Landrover, Peugeot, Renault, DS, Citroen, Fiat, Toyota, Lexus, Honda, Suzuki, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Kia, Acura, Sonic, Nissan, Infiniti, Mazda, Hyundai, etc.

The CAN OBDScar OS601 OBD2 scanner supports all the OBD2 protocols, including ISO9141, KWP2000, J1850 PWM, and J1850 VPW - so your car gets a thorough diagnostic.

Who Will Use This Most

With its price range, the OBDScar OS601 is a good choice for anyone who wants a reliable and affordable OBD II scanner. For a complete review of this scanner, visit this article.

Xtool Universal - Most Budget-Friendly

Xtool Universal CAN OBD II Code Reader

PROS

  • Functional but affordable
  • Reads and clears diagnostic trouble codes
  • Supports various OBD II protocols
  • Multilingual menu
  • Works on the US, European, and Asian cars

CONS

  • Small screen
  • Works only on Mode 9-supported vehicles

What Recent Buyers Report

The Xtool code reader is very affordable but gives accurate results. It also comes with a sound DTC library where you can look up your diagnostic trouble codes.

Why It Stands Out to Us

The U480 is a compact code reader that has the same capabilities as large and expensive scanners. This OBD2 code reader reviews the emission readiness status of OBD2 monitors and turns off the check engine light.

Aside from these, it also lets you read and clear generic, pending codes and manufacturer-specific diagnostic code trouble codes. It also retrieves the VIN, CIN, and CVN on 2002 or newer vehicles that support Mode 9.

Who Will Use This Most

The Xtool Universal CAN OBD II Code Reader is the perfect diagnostics tool for DIY mechanics who want to start with an affordable but functional code reader in their garage.

Bafx Products Bluetooth CAN OBD II Scanner

PROS

  • Reads DTCs and clears check engine light
  • Displays real-time data from various ECUs
  • Compatible with multiple OBD2 apps
  • US-based support staff
  • 2-year warranty

CONS

  • Not compatible with iOS devices
  • Does not read ABS, SRS, TPMS, or oil change lights

What Recent Buyers Report

Users love it when they save thousands of dollars on car repairs from a reasonably cheap CAN OND2 code reader. Another shopper cleared his DTC without taking a trip to the repair shop. The added cost of the mobile app is something they're willing to invest in as long as they get the Premium features. 

Why It Stands Out to Us

This Bluetooth wireless diagnostic car scanner decodes your vehicle's warning lights, helps you understand what they mean, and identifies the underlying cause of engine-related codes. However, it works only on Android and Windows devices.

BAFX OBD II scanner is the perfect tool for maintaining your US, European, or Asian vehicles and understanding their inner workings.

Most apps let you customize your digital dashboard, though BAFX recommends Torque Pro. The app is available free, but you must have a Pro account to enjoy its premium features.

Who Will Use This Most

We recommend this wireless Bluetooth OBD2 scanner for DIY mechanics who want to monitor their car's health and status with their Android mobile devices.

Ancel AD310 Universal CAN OBD2 Scanner

PROS

  • Displays the code and its textual definition in one screen
  • Sturdy construction
  • Large LCD for clearer views
  • Fewer buttons for more straightforward navigation
  • Compatible with most OBD2 protocols

CONS

  • Works on cars only, not bigger trucks
  • Some users reported problems using it with older cars

What Recent Buyers Report

According to several users, the Ancel AD310 is an excellent scanner tool that will save you many trips to the repair shop. Other newbie users appreciate its easy-to-use UI without even entering your car's information. It is one of the highly recommended affordable diagnostics tools.

Why It Stands Out to Us

Ancel AD310 is one of the most trusted OBD2 scanners in the market that any car owner will love. For one, it is very efficient for its price. Instead of navigating to find the information for your DTC, the textual description of the code appears on the lower half of the scanner's screen.

For every code, it also lists some of the frequently reported fixes so you can try them and fix them to turn off the check engine light on your dash.

Who Will Use This Most

The Ancel AD310 diagnostic scan tool is an excellent addition to a DIY mechanics toolbox. No car should go without this tool to monitor its status without a visit to repair shops.

Juta JT600 CAN OBD II Scanner

PROS

  • More than 20K stored DTCs
  • Performs battery tests
  • One-touch button for instructions and tips
  • Separate control for I/M Readiness test
  • Compatible with most cars and OBD protocols

CONS

  • Poor user's manual
  • May miss some diagnostic trouble codes

What Recent Buyers Report

Juta JT600 CAN OBD II Scanner is one of the most user-friendly scanners on the market, with an easy-to-read display and excellent customer support.

Why It Stands Out to Us

This scanner is both easy to use and comes with a detailed manual. It also has one of the most accurate readings on the market, which is a big help when diagnosing an issue.

Aside from the usual reading of trouble codes and turning off the check engine light on your car, it also performs O2 sensor tests and monitors your fuel system and other related tests on your Mode 6 cars.

You can also get free upgrades from Juta's official website so you stay updated with the ASE-tried fixes you may use in your car.

Who Will Use This Most

This scanner is perfect for a DIY-er who knows their way around cars and wants to take some of the pressure off themselves by diagnosing problems. It's also really great at testing those Mode Six car issues that are difficult to diagnose so that it can be used as an all-inclusive tool in your garage.

Autel AutoLink AL319 CAN OBD II Scanner

PROS

  • Plug-and-play design
  • Reads and clears DTCs
  • Compatible with most car manufacturers
  • Sturdy construction
  • 1-year warranty and lifetime free updates

CONS

  • No user manual included
  • Updates may be confusing

What Recent Buyers Report

One user fixed his coolant thermostat without having to visit a mechanic, while another customer claimed to have solved a couple of DTCs on his daughter's car, including a P0303 code with the help of this scanner tool.

While some code readers do not work with hybrid cars, this scanner tool did, and a user replaced his hybrid car battery and saved close to $5000.

Why It Stands Out to Us

Autel AutoLink AL319 CAN OBD II Scanner is the "plug and play" error code reader. You just need to install the error code reader on your own and click on a button to work with all of its features. Even if you're not an expert in car repairing, no one will have any problem when they use this.

CAN OBD II scanner is a patented One-Click I/M Readiness Key check engine code reader that features a TFT color display, LED lights for red and green indicators - among other things.

Most notably, the cable on this device is long enough without being too long and getting in the way. It quickly scans diagnostics without needing batteries.

Who Will Use This Most

This scanner is perfect for a DIY-er who knows their way around cars and wants to take some of the pressure off themselves by diagnosing problems. It's also really great at testing those Mode 6 car issues that are difficult to diagnose.

Konnwei KW310 CAN OBD II Scanner

PROS

  • Complete OBD2 modes
  • Compatible with most OBD2 protocols
  • Plug-and-play
  • Faster diagnosis than most OBD2 scanners
  • 3-year aftersales service

CONS

  • Small screen and fonts
  • Inconsistent display of live data

What Recent Buyers Report

Konnwei KW310 CAN code reader's interface is very user-friendly, so there's no need for a manual or instructions on what buttons do what.

Why It Stands Out to Us

The Konnwei KW310 CAN OBD II scanner is an excellent tool for anyone who owns a car. It's so much more thorough than your average OBD2 scanner and pinpoints common issues that someone without experience working on cars might not know how to diagnose. 

The CAN OBD2 scanner supports real-time data that includes values from the vehicle like RPM, voltage, speed, and other system status information. It supports the display of detailed text, and you can view all data stream items or select a particular item with a graph.

It has over 3000 diagnostic trouble codes ready for use with its built-in lookup library. It can read current and pending codes stored on your car computer, saving you time searching up definitions.

Who Will Use This Most

This scanner is perfect for the do-it-yourself mechanic and easy enough to use for anyone without prior experience diagnosing their car's issues using a scanner.

2021 version of the Launch CReader V+ CAN OBD II scanner

PROS

  • Plug-and-play diagnostic scan tool
  • Perform bi-directional control tests
  • Two simultaneous PID graphs
  • Compatible with most OBD2 protocols
  • 3-year quality assurance

CONS

  • Some models are not covered
  • Small fonts
  • Troublesome navigation to check DTC library

What Recent Buyers Report

Many users recommend it for its straightforward use and accurate results, considering its price. Although the screen is black, it has a strong backlight, making it easier to see. However, the fonts are smaller than some users prefer. Overall, though, the Launch CReader V+ scanner is an excellent diagnostic tool.

Why It Stands Out to Us

The Launch CReader V+ CAN OBD II Scanner is an easy-to-use OBD2 scan tool with a built-in code definition library that you can access offline. The company also offers 24-hr online chat support that will help you solve your issues, perfect for any newbie mechanic.

It has an enhanced OBDII bi-directional control tests that include the evaporative system, O2 sensors, I/M readiness, and Check Engine Light status. It also carries the ten modes of OBD2, so you can request it to conduct almost any test.

It also carries several monitors, ensuring that the car is in top condition in whatever weather condition. It also has 36 live data streams, and you can simultaneously show two of them to compare and analyze their data.

Who Will Use This Most

Anyone looking for a user-friendly and budget-friendly CAN OBD2 scanner will love to have this diagnostics tool in his garage.

CAN OBD II Scanner Buying Guide

Functionality

The CAN OBD2 scanner should read and clear diagnostic trouble codes, monitor live engine data like RPMs and manifold pressures, calculate fuel economy figures (if the vehicle is equipped with a compatible ECU), and display freeze frame data from previous trips.

Durability

While durability is not the most pressing issue since most CAN OBD2 scanners are expensive, it still helps if your diagnostics tool can withstand years of use.

Compatibility

A CAN OBD2 scanner is most likely to be compatible with the other protocols as it is the latest protocol required for car manufacturers to use. Whether your car was from 2008 when the CAN OBD2 was first used or earlier, this scanner will work for them too.

Features

Some CAN OND2 scanners only read engine-related diagnostic trouble codes, while others also read ABS, SRS, TPMS, and other ECUs on your car, making it very helpful. If you desire these features in your scan tool, be prepared to pay more.

Features such as battery health monitoring, readily available textual description of DTCs, and access to accurate real-time data are some of the most important features you should require from your OBD2 scan tools.

Value

How do you measure the value of your tools? Other places weigh on the price, but we always advocate getting the device that suits your purpose. With extra features for a few more dollars, you save yourself from recurring trips to the repair shop to seek the service of a professional mechanic.

Can OBD II Scanner FAQ

1. What is CAN OBD II?

Controller Area Network (CAN) is one of the OBD II communication protocols. One of the main functions of the CAN bus is to connect the different ECUs within a car so they have smooth communication.

Among the ECUs that the CAN bus interconnects are the auto start and stop sensors, electric park brakes, parking assist systems, collision avoidance systems, and other similar sensors. The most modern CAN protocol is ISO 15765-4 (CAN-BUS) and is an ASE-mandated OBD2 protocol for cars manufactured since 2008.

2. What are the OBD2 Protocols?

There are currently five communication protocols: SAE J1850 PWM, SAE J1850 VPW, ISO 9141-2, ISO14230-4 (KWP2000), and ISO 15765-4 (CAN-BUS). Some mechanics count the four variants of CAN. Thus you can sometimes read about 9 OBD2 protocols.

The four earlier protocols are manufacturer-specific, thus sometimes called native protocols. For example, SAE J1850 PWM (Power Width Modulated) system is a Ford protocol, while SAE J1850 VPW (Variable Pulse Width) is common to GM cars.

ISO9141-2 is common among European cars manufactured from 2000 to 2004, while most cars manufactured from 2003 use ISO14230-4 (KWP2000 or Keyword Protocol 2000).

The ISO15765-4 (CAN-BUS) is the most modern communication protocol of these 5, and cars made from 2008 carry this protocol.

These protocols vary according to the active pins in the 16-pin OBD2 connector.

3. Can you start a car through OBD2?

A CAN OBD II scanner tool cannot allow you to remote-start your car.

4. How can I access my car's computer?

You can connect to the car's computer system through a laptop and programs that allow you to back up data. It requires the use of an OBD2 port located near the fuse box beneath the steering wheel.

Conclusion

The best overall OBD2 scanner goes to Ancel FX2000 CAN OBD II Scanner because it covers all car systems, a rarity for scanners within this price range. It also shows live data streams on its TFT display, while the horizontal orientation and slip-free rubber housing helps to package this scan tool into a fantastic diagnostics tool.

Another excellent contender is Ancel AD310 Universal CAN OBD2 Scanner. It has a large LCD for clearer views and enough space to accommodate the DTCs and their description on one screen. We also appreciate the fewer buttons for more straightforward navigation on the menu.

Lastly, our vote for the most budget-friendly OBD2 scanner tool goes to Xtool Universal CAN OBD II Code Reader. It is the cheapest option on this list but not to be underestimated in functionality and compatibility.