Top 10 Best Car Code Readers in 2020 Reviews

The last thing you want to see in your car is a flashing warning light. This is because finding what causes this orange blinking light is always a real headache. But you have to know where the problem is because if you do not, the flashing warning light can lead to even bigger mechanical issues or, worse, cause an accident. While taking your car to a dealership is a step in the right direction, it is not something to be thrilled about because, at the end of it all, you shall have used up a lot of money. That being said, the real solution to this issue is a car code reader. And, in the following top 10 best car code readers reviews, we bring you nothing but highly ranked models to choose from.

Table Best Car Code Readers

1. Bafx Products OBD2/OBDII Car Scanner & Reader Tool

1. Bafx Products OBD2/OBDII Car Scanner & Reader Tool
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We would like to make it clear that this car code reader is not designed to work with iOS devices, such as iPads and iPhones, among others. So if you have an iOS device, you should consider the Bafx Products Wi-Fi OBD Reader. The Bafx Products OBD2/OBDII Reader Tool is designed to only work with Windows and Android devices. What’s more, this car scanner and reader tool is compatible with all US model 1996 or newer vehicles. It also works on all OBD2 protocols, including CAN and J1850. A 2-year warranty is included to protect it from all manufacturing defects. Plus there is friendly US-based customer support to make sure you have a smooth experience with this car reader tool. If you are a DIY mechanic, this is one tool you should not miss. With it, you will not just read and clear the check engine light but also monitor various vehicle sensors.

Key Features
  • Compatible with most car models after 1996
  • Works with Windows and Android
  • Can be used internationally
  • Backed by a 2-year warranty
  • Solid Bluetooth connectivity for ultimate convenience
  • Requires 3rd party app (both free and paid are available)
Pros
  • Customer service is excellent
  • Can save you lots of money
  • Works with many different free apps
  • Instructions are quite nice
  • The price is inexpensive
  • Reads live data and connections are reliable
Cons
  • Not compatible with iOS devices

2. BlueDriver LSB2 Bluetooth Scan Tool – Pro OBDII – for Android & iPhone

2. BlueDriver LSB2 Bluetooth Scan Tool – Pro OBDII – for Android & iPhone
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Although you are likely to spend a little more if you decide to buy this car code reader, it is worth it. We are saying this because the scan tool is powerful enough to read and clear all the codes that other car code readers read as well as those they cannot read. This means it is the only scan tool you need to invest in and then you are good to go. Whether you want to read and clear the check engine light or other vehicle systems, the BlueDriver Pro OBDII Scan Tool is what you should consider. It is officially certified and licensed for Android and Apple devices. Moreover, this scan tool works on most, if not all, vehicle models. Therefore, whether you have a Subaru, Honda, BMW, Mercedes, Mitsubishi, etc, this scan tool is a worthy purchase.

Key Features
  • BlueDriver Sensor and BlueDriver App work together to improve quality
  • Developed by professional engineers in North America
  • Works both with iPhone and Android devices
  • Designed to be easy to use
  • Repair Reports are generated from the manufacturer’s database of millions of fixes
Pros
  • It is worth the price
  • Reads BCM and transmission codes as well
  • It does live data
  • Versatile; can clear codes and read emissions readiness
  • The scanner has lots of wonderful features
Cons
  • Date refresh rate in the “Live Data” mode is 5 seconds, which is a long time, given that the refresh rate takes 1 – 2 seconds at most.

3. ANCEL AD310 OBD II Scanner Car Fault Code Reader

3. ANCEL AD310 OBD II Scanner Car Fault Code Reader
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This car fault code reader is one of the easiest-to-use units you have ever come across. As such, you do not need to be an expert to figure out how to use it. It is a great purchase for beginners as well as those who do not want to spend much on a car code reader; thanks to the reasonable price. It scans fast and clears trouble codes in no time. Needless to say, if you want to identify a problem and fix it without breaking a sweat then this car code reader is what you should go for. It works on most US-based 1996 cars as well as EU-based and Asian 2000 cars. It also works smoothly on newer OBD II and CAN import or domestic vehicles. The cause of the check engine light will never be a major concern again if you have this high-performance car code reader.

Key Features
  • Classic design allows the scanner to scan quickly and clear trouble codes in a snap
  • Large LCD display directly indicates test results
  • No batteries or charger required
  • Enter and Exit button lets you enter the menu and navigate back
  • Up and Down button allows you to scroll menu
Pros
  • The reader is very user-friendly
  • More inexpensive than most comparable models
  • Extremely easy to set up
  • Works with several models of cars
  • Does not need batteries to work
Cons
  • Would be better if this unit had an ABS code reader

4. Autel Universal OBD2 Scanner Car Code Reader (MS300)

4. Autel Universal OBD2 Scanner Car Code Reader (MS300)
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This is probably the cheapest car code reader on the market. What’s even better, the insanely low price point does not seem to have an impact on its performance. It still reads and clears manufacturer-specific, pending and generic codes. In other words, when you have the Autel MS300, you will be able to figure out why CEL is on. The car code reader works with most OBDII compliant sedans, light trucks, and SUVs. It works smoothly on US-based post-1996 cars and EU-based and Asian 2000 car models. What’s more, the Autel MS300 has an intuitive design that allows you to diagnose the problem very fast and then fix it. It is great for home mechanics as well as those who want to save some money on car repair. Furthermore, this universal car scanner comes with a 30-day refund policy as well as a 12-month warranty.

Key Features
  • 2-button design is easy to use and helps you diagnose problems fast
  • Easy-to-read backlit screen and intuitive interface
  • Communicates with cars via standard 16-PIN OBD 2 cable
  • Checks emission-related systems by retrieving I/M Readiness status
  • Communicates with vehicles in a safer and more effective way
Pros
  • The price is surprisingly cheap
  • The car code reader works perfectly
  • Diagnoses and clears codes quickly and easily
  • Wonderful for anyone who loves to fix their own car
  • Eliminates the need of having to visit car repair shops every now and then
Cons
  • Only gives the code and not what the code means, but this is understandable, given the low price point

5. Veepeak Mini Bluetooth OBD2 Scanner OBD II Scan Tool

5. Veepeak Mini Bluetooth OBD2 Scanner OBD II Scan Tool
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This is another incredibly cheap car scanner. It eliminates the need to spend so much on a car code reader. Despite the low price point, the Veepeak Mini Bluetooth Scan Tool has lots of incredible features that enable it to work almost as those expensive models you have come to know for so long. The scan tool is compatible with US-based light trucks and cars since the year 1996. It works nicely on light-duty Ford Chevy Dodge trucks, imported and domestic, and hybrid & electric vehicles like Kia Niro, Toyota Prius, Chevy Bolt, and Nissan Leaf, among others. It is crucial to note that this scan tool is compatible with only Windows PCs and Android devices. It does not work with iOS (iPad or iPhone). Although it is super affordable, this car scanner is a useful tool for anyone who wants to diagnose check engine light or monitor car sensors.

Key Features
  • Low power consumption gives peace of mind
  • Stable Bluetooth connection makes the car code reader very convenient to use
  • Compatible with 1996 and newer cars
  • Can be used internationally
  • Compatible with Android and Windows
Pros
  • The manufacturer’s support is great
  • Works well with a variety of apps
  • It is plug and play
  • Extremely simple to use
  • The price is unbeatable
Cons
  • May not read the ABS fault code when used with some apps

6. FOXWELL NT301 OBD 2 Scanner OBDII Code Reader Tool

6. FOXWELL NT301 OBD 2 Scanner OBDII Code Reader Tool
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Modern car code readers require no battery, and the FOXWELL NT301 Tool is no exception. It is charged directly via the 16pin DLC in the vehicle. This makes it a reliable unit that will help you repair your car in a snap and without necessarily taking it to a car repair shop. Apart from adding the FOXWELL NT301 model to your toolbox, you can get it as a gift for auto shop and home mechanics. This code reader tool is not as cheap as some of the models we have already reviewed. But also, it is not very expensive and can still be acquired by someone on a budget. Moreover, the code reader for cars comes with a 1-year seller assurance and free lifetime update. This not only justifies its price tag but also proves that the manufacturer fully believes in it.

Key Features
  • Graphing live vehicle sensors data lets you focus on any suspicious data and trend
  • 2.8-inch color screen helps make the car code reader easy to use
  • I/M readiness and Read/Erase hotkeys make the car computer easy to use right out of the box
  • Red, yellow and LEDs and built-in speaker
  • Accurately reads error codes for most SUVs, cars, and light trucks
Pros
  • Great for the price
  • The car scanner is very helpful
  • Navigating around the menus is a breeze
  • The codes are easy to read
  • It is shipped really quickly
Cons
  • Instructions could be better

7. AUTOPHIX OBD 2 OM126P Vehicle Code Reader

7. AUTOPHIX OBD 2 OM126P Vehicle Code Reader
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Trouble codes that can cause emission issues in your car will be the least of your concern if you have the AUTOPHIX OBD 2 OM126P Vehicle Code Reader. It is a high-performance, enhanced car scanner that not only reads but also clears codes. Even better, this code reader does what it is designed to do in minutes. The AUTOPHIX OBD 2 OM126P Vehicle Code Reader is also helpful in turning off the MIL and resetting the monitor, improving the lifespan and performance of your car, and building a DTC lookup library that makes it easy to find related code definitions, which, in turn, help you determine if your vehicle needs repair. In a nutshell, a DTC lookup library will help you save money and time. The AUTOPHIX OBD 2 Code Reader is plug-and-play and requires no battery or charging to function.

Key Features
  • 1-year warranty protects against the unfortunate
  • Built-in 14 special functions enable the car code reader to as expected
  • Works on all post-1996 and newer vehicle models in the US or other imported vehicles
  • Reads and erases DTC quickly on all OBD II protocol vehicles
  • 2.4-inch TFT 262K true color LCD display screen
Pros
  • Does the job reliably and somewhat easily
  • Can save you a good amount of money
  • The scanner is of high quality
  • Comes with a useful instruction manual
  • Backlight allows you to use it both during the day and at night
Cons
  • The cord could be longer

8. Ysding OBD2 Universal OBD II Car Engine Code Reader

8. Ysding OBD2 Universal OBD II Car Engine Code Reader
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Although the price tag of this car engine code reader is not on the high side, you get more than enough with the unit. It is a highly versatile fault code reader that effortlessly diagnoses the cause of the MIL (Malfunction Indicator Light); Views Frame Data; Build-ins Lookup Library; Reads fault codes; Turns off MIL; Detects the battery condition of vehicle; Reads Live PCM Data Stream; Resets monitors and clears fault codes, and Displays I/M readiness, among others. It does all of these (for the price), and this is simply breathtaking. Moreover, this car engine fault code reader comes with a 3-year warranty and a 60-day full refund or free return guarantee. Again, this is unbelievable, given the fairly low price point. The car code reader is a fully functional unit that will make your life much more convenient than ever before.

Key Features
  • Large LCD display featuring contrast adjustment and backlight
  • Supports many different languages, including English, Italian, French, Spanish, German, Russian, and more
  • I/M readiness function allows quick state emissions readiness as well as drive cycle verification
  • Connects directly and does not require batteries
  • Works on most post-1996 US-based OBDII as well as post-2000 EU-based EOBD and Asian petrol cars
Pros
  • Makes a great gift for car lovers
  • Easy to use and works as advertised
  • The buttons are large and functional
  • The menu is simple to navigate
  • Does not require battery
Cons
  • May take quite a while to connect

9. Foseal OBD 2 Scanner Code Reader

9. Foseal OBD 2 Scanner Code Reader
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When buying a car code reader, consider those models that are easy to set up and to use. The Foseal OBD 2 Scanner Code Reader not only boasts a price that will not cause a seismic effect on your wallet but also is plug-and-play. This means you will be able to use it right out of the box. It is so easy to use a beginner can rely on it to diagnose various problems and fix them in a snap. Moreover, this car code reader comes with plenty of accessories, including an 18-month warranty, a friendly user manual, and 2.5’ cable. All these accessories are very handy and will help you have a smooth user experience.

Key Features
  • Built-in 128 * 64 pixels large LCD display with contrast adjustment and white backlight
  • 2.5-foot heavy-duty cable is long enough to promote convenience
  • Only works on 12-volt battery vehicles
  • Retrieves vehicle information and reads live data stream
  • One-click fast VIN DTC code
Pros
  • Diagnoses the engine while it’s running
  • The wire is nicely long
  • Gives codes and basic definition
  • The case material is well made and durable
  • The connection cable seems strong
Cons
  • Does not seem to read ABS codes

10. LAUNCH CRP123X OBD 2 Scanner Code Reader

10. LAUNCH CRP123X OBD 2 Scanner Code Reader
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If you plan to use your car code reader for much more serious projects, the LAUNCH CRP123X OBD 2 Scanner Code Reader may be the perfect purchase for you. Its versatility is beyond imagining, and this is what, perhaps, justifies its pretty hefty price tag. The scan tool code reader supports EOBD/OBD diagnostics as Vehicle Information, DTC Lookup, I/M feature, and Live Data Graphing, among others. It also accesses in detail the main ECU’s for ABS & Airbag system, live data stream, reading & erasing code, Transmission, turning off the warning lights, and Engine. The diagnostic report helps users save money and time by making sure they avoid blind maintenance.

Key Features
  • One-click update through Wi-Fi
  • Battery voltage service does a great job of monitoring real-time battery voltage of 12-volt vehicles in graphical
  • AutoVIN service retrieves vehicle VIN automatically for troubleshooting accuracy
  • 24-month warranty ensures you are assisted accordingly in case of any quality issues
  • 720P resolution and 5” touchscreen deliver exceptional image quality
Pros
  • The scanner is extremely easy to use
  • It has tons of features
  • The I/M function eliminates guesswork on when the vehicle is ready
  • The screen is nice and big
  • Build quality is outstanding
Cons
  • The manual is a bit vague

Conclusion

When DIY mechanics tell you that a car code reader can help you save a lot of money, believe them. This handy car scanner eliminates the need to take your car to a repair shop so a professional mechanic can diagnose and fix the problem. Moreover, a car code reader works with most 1996+ US-based vehicles and 2000+ EU-based and Asian vehicles.

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