Top 10 Universal Scanners
for June 2023

MOOZ's editors select recommendations independently. Purchases made through our links may earn us commissions.

Are you tired of constantly visiting your mechanic for simple car issues? Do you want to take control of your vehicle's maintenance? If yes, then a universal scanner is a must-have tool for you! These handy devices allow you to diagnose engine problems and read codes quickly and easily, saving you both time and money. In this blog post, we will introduce you to the top 10 universal scanners available on the market today, so that you can make an informed decision when purchasing an automotive scanner of your own.

A diagnostic tool like a universal scanner is designed to help you troubleshoot your vehicle's issues quickly and accurately. It plugs into your car's OBD (Onboard Diagnostic) port with a long, flexible cable and communicates with your car's onboard computer to provide you with real-time data about your engine's performance. The top 10 universal scanners we've compiled here are compatible with most 1996 US-based, 2000 EU-based, and Asian cars, and newer OBD II and CAN domestic or import vehicles.

With a universal scanner, you can quickly and easily access a wealth of information about your vehicle, including details like engine speed, coolant temperature, vehicle speed, and more. The scanners we've chosen all feature LCD displays, so you can read your car's codes easily and clearly. Additionally, some of these scanners offer multi-language support, allowing you to receive diagnostic information in your preferred language.

A scanner isn't just useful for diagnosing engine issues. Most of the models on our list come equipped with practical features like a built-in OBD2 DTC lookup library, which can help you determine the source of the engine light, read and erase codes, view freeze frame data, and even view real-time curves. Some models also include data flow, I/M readiness, and vehicle information, making them incredibly versatile tools that can help you keep your car in top condition.

In conclusion, investing in a universal scanner is a wise decision for anyone who wants to take charge of their car's maintenance. We hope this list of the top 10 scanners will help you find the tool that's right for you, and make your car maintenance experience more convenient and enjoyable.

MOTOPOWER MP69035 OBD2 Scanner Universal Car Engine Fault Code Reader, CAN Diagnostic Scan Tool for All OBD II Protocol Cars Since 1996

MOTOPOWER MP69035 OBD2 Scanner Universal Engine Car Fault Code Reader

What We like

Warranty- TWO YEAR WARRANTY AND 100% SATISFACTION SERVICE - Hassle-free return or refund for any product quality issue. 100% satisfaction service and technical assistance will be provided by contacting our professional customer service team.

OUK-BT Car OBD2 Scanner, Enhanced Car OBD II Scanner Code Reader Handheld Universal Automotive Fault Diagnostic Tool for OBDII Protocol Cars Since 1996

OUK-BT Car OBD2 Scanner

What We like

Application: Our OBD2 scan tool is compatible with all 1996 and newer model cars, SUVs, and light trucks sold in the US, Europe, and Asia. Supports all OBD2 protocols: SAE J1850 PWM, SAE J1850 VPW, ISO 9141-2, ISO 14230-4 (KWP2000), and ISO 15765-4(CAN). Note: This car code reader is incompatible with new energy vehicles, hybrid vehicles.

POVO OBD2 Scanner,Universal OBD2 Code Reader Car Diagnostic Tool Auto Check Engine Light Error Analysis Automotive CAN Vehicle Scan Tool for OBDII Protocol Cars Since 1996

POVO OBD2 Scanner

What We like

[QUALITY GUARANTEED] - The sturdy 2.5 foot long cable allows you to sit comfortably during the diagnostic test. 6 soft buttons, the Up and Down buttons to scroll through the menu, the Enter and Exit buttons allow you to navigate the previous menu. 2-year warranty and response within 12 hours to product usage method, compatible models, questions about equipment information, etc.

GEKER OBD2 Scanner Code Reader Diagnostic Tool Car Check Engine Light Handheld Car Code Reader OBD II Universal Auto Diagnostic Device Diagnostic Scan Tool Vehicle Fault Code Reader

GEKER OBD2 Scanner Code Reader Diagnostic Tool Car Check Engine Light Handheld Car Code OBD Reader II Universal Auto Diagnostic Device Diagnostic Scan Tool Vehicle Fault Code Reader

by Geker
What We like

User-Friendly Design: This check engine code reader equipped with display which shows DTC definitions more clearly, built-in LCD Indicator etc. Unique dust-resistant surface makes this auto scanner tool stronger and more durable.

FOXWELL NT680 All System Universal OBD2 Diagnostic Scanner Read Erase Scan Tool

Foxwell Technology FOXWELL NT680 All System Universal Diagnostic OBD2 Scanner Read Erase Scan Tool

by Foxwell Technology
What We like

Lifelong free online updates. One year warranty.

Quicklynks Truck Diagnostic Tool T71 Universal Diesel Heavy Duty Code Reader V24 for Bus and Heavy Truck Diagnostic Scanner Tool for Benz/Isuzu/Cummins/Iveco/Volvo Truck

Quicklynks Truck Diagnostic Tool T71 Universal Diesel Heavy Duty Code Reader for V24 Bus and Heavy Truck Diagnostic Scanner Tool for Benz/Isuzu/Cummins/Iveco/Volvo Truck

by Quicklynks
What We like

T71 Diesel Truck Diagnostic Scanner 24V Heavy Duty Truck Diagnosis Computer Tester Truck Scan Tool for Benz/Isuzu/cummins/iveco/volvo truck.

KOLSOL KS501 OBDII EOBD Scan Tool for Universal Vehicles Automotive Scanner Diagnostic Tool

KOLSOL KS501 OBDII EOBD Scan Tool Universal for Vehicles Automotive Scanner Diagnostic Tool

What We like

Live Data Visualized Comparison: Greatly supports Four parameters comparison, record the live data for later review

Uniden BC-SGPS, Universal Receiver Module Kit, Simple Solution to Connect GPS Enabled Scanner or CB Radio, (Replaces BC-GPSK)

Uniden BC-SGPS

by Uniden
What We like

Use for Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS).

AUTOOL OBD2 Scanner Universal Check Engine Car Code Reader Auto OBDII CAN Diagnostic Scan Tool with Live Data, Print & 2.8

AUTOOL OBD2 Scanner Universal Check Engine Car Code Reader OBDII Auto CAN Diagnostic Scan Tool with Live Data

What We like

PLUG AND PLAYNo batteries or complicated apps install needed, equip with extra-long 4.2-feet diagnostic cable and built in speaker, get power directly from OBD2 interface in your vehicle. Multilingual menu supports English, Spanish, Russian, French, German, etc. No upgrade is required before use. You can also upload the data to a computer for print.

iCarsoft CR Plus NEW VERSION professional universal OBD2 diagnostic scanner for multi brand vehicles

iCarsoft CR Plus NEW VERSION professional universal diagnostic OBD2 scanner for multi brand vehicles

by iCarsoft
What We like

Resets Oil Service Light Brake Pads Reset Steering Angle Sensor Calibration

Universal scanners have come a long way since their inception in the 1980s. These diagnostic tools were initially created to help technicians identify and troubleshoot problems in vehicles that were equipped with onboard computers. Over time, they have evolved to become essential tools for both mechanics and car owners alike.

1980s: The first universal scanners were introduced in the early 1980s. These early models were designed to work with vehicles that were equipped with electronic control units (ECUs). The early scanners could only read basic information such as trouble codes.

1990s: By the 1990s, universal scanners had become more sophisticated. They were now capable of reading information such as sensor data, system status, and freeze-frame data. This allowed technicians to identify problems that may not have triggered a trouble code.

2000s: In the early 2000s, the implementation of OBD-II (On-Board Diagnostics) made it possible to create scanners that were compatible with a wider range of vehicles. OBD-II required all vehicles manufactured after 1996 to be equipped with a standard data port that could be used by diagnostic tools.

2010s: In the 2010s, universal scanners became even more user-friendly. Many newer models have a built-in database that allows users to look up trouble codes and get more detailed information about what they mean. Additionally, many scanners now come with smartphone apps that allow users to access diagnostic information on their mobile devices.

Today, universal scanners are an essential tool for anyone who wants to maintain their vehicle or diagnose problems quickly and efficiently. With technology continuing to advance, it's likely that we'll see even more improvements and innovations in the future.

Key Decision-Making Factors in Car Diagnostic Scanner:

1. Compact Design: The compact design of a car diagnostic scanner is a crucial factor to consider as it affects the ease of use and portability. A scanner equipped with a 2.5 feet long cable and made of a very thick flexible insulator offers convenience in accessing hard-to-reach areas of the vehicle. An easy-to-grip design, ergonomic buttons, and lightweight construction further enhance the user experience.

2. Wide Capability: Diagnostic scanners' ability to support multiple protocols compatible with most 1996 US-Based, 2000 EU-Based, and Asian cars, as well as newer OBD II & CAN domestic or import vehicles, is a vital factor. This feature ensures that the scanner can be used to diagnose any vehicle, irrespective of its make or model, offering an all-in-one solution. Support for multiple languages, such as English, German, Dutch, Spanish, French, Italian, further enhances the scanner's usability for different users.

3. LCD Display: Diagnostic scanners with LCD displays provide effective, real-time monitoring of vehicle parameters, including engine speed, vehicle speed, engine coolant temperature, and more. A color display with high pixel resolution offers improved visibility, which allows users to quickly and easily read and interpret codes, freeze frame data, and other important information. The display size and backlighting are also essential features to consider, as they ensure legibility even in low light conditions.

4. Multi-Functions: A car diagnostic scanner's multi-function capability is a critical factor that allows it to perform various tasks, such as retrieve engine fault codes, clear diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs), view I/M readiness, live data stream, real-time curve, and more. These functions enable users to quickly identify the cause of any engine problem and determine its severity, thus allowing for prompt repairs and cost savings. The scanner's built-in OBD2 DTC library that aids in trouble-code definition and diagnosis is also a valuable feature to look out for.

Conclusion: The above key decision-making factors and their respective features are essential when choosing a car diagnostic scanner. By prioritizing these factors and comparing different brands and models, users can make informed decisions that lead to better diagnostic accuracy, time savings, and overall cost-effectiveness.

FAQ About universal scanners

Q: What is the best automotive scanner?

A: The best automotive scanner depends on your needs and budget. Some of the top scanner brands include Autel, Snap-On, Launch, and Innova. Before purchasing, consider what functions you need the scanner to perform and whether it is compatible with your vehicle's make and model.

Q: What is the best scan tool for DIY mechanic?

A: For DIY mechanics, a quality yet affordable scanner is ideal. The Autel AutoLink AL319 is a popular option that can read and clear codes, display live data, and perform I/M readiness tests. Other good options include the Launch Creader VII+ and the Ancel AD310.

Q: What code reader does AutoZone use?

A: AutoZone uses the Innova 3100j code reader. This scanner is compatible with most 1996 and newer OBD2 vehicles and can read and clear codes, display live data, and check emissions readiness.

Q: Are all OBD2 scanners the same?

A: No, not all OBD2 scanners are the same. Some scanners may have more advanced features and functions, while others may be more affordable and basic. Additionally, not all scanners are compatible with every make and model of vehicle. It is important to research and choose a scanner that is compatible with your specific vehicle and fits your needs.

One more thing to consider when purchasing an On-board Diagnostic (OBD) scanner is the design. The compact design of the Car Diagnostic Scanner makes it easy to use and store. Equipped with a 2.5 feet long cable and 6 buttons, it provides quick access to vital information. Plus, it supports 9 protocols and 6 languages making it versatile for different car models. The LCD display is designed to show real-time data and requires no battery or charger. As a multi-functional OBD2 code reader, it features a built-in OBD2 DTC lookup library, which helps diagnose the cause of the engine light. All these features make it one of the best OBD-II scanners for 2023, as indicated by The best OBD-II scanners in 2023 and Best OBD2 Scanners For 2023. So, don't wait any longer, get yourself a reliable OBD scanner and say goodbye to unnecessary trips to the mechanic!


I Agree
We use cookies to enhance and personalise your experience with us by collecting information about the pages you visit and actions taken on the site. More details