3 Best Actron Scanners 2022 [Comparison Chart & Review]

Are you looking for the best Actron scanner? Then you’ve landed on the right page.

You’ve probably already known that Actron manufactures some of the best OBD-II scanners on the market such as CP9125 C, CP9660 or CP9680.

In this post, I’m going to show you the comparison chart and review the best Actron Scanners in the market 2022.

Let’s go!!

Here's where you can find the best Actron Scanners
If you’re looking for the best Actron Scanners, this is the right place.

Is Actron A Good Scanner?

Actron used to be one of the leading manufacturers of diagnostic tools. Although the scanners are made in China, their parent company is Bosch, which is located in the USA. 

They have produced many reliable scanners for years. Actron scan tools are well-known for their great features of rapid reading and fault code removal. They provide accurate results, which help many car owners save time and a lot of money. Actron is worth the try if you love its design and durability. 

Although Actron scanners are not as popular as before, many customers prefer a familiar name to famous brands like Autel, Launch, Ancel, BlueDriver, etc. But if you love to choose a long-running scanner, Actron’s products are worth trying! 

After testing the three best scanners from Actron, I realized that they didn’t meet all the requirements for a professional mechanic like me. Actually, these products’ functions are suitable for newbies or home mechanics. And as a user experiencing these scanners, their durability is what impressed me the most. Furthermore, the interface is simple, making it super easy even for anyone unfamiliar with scanners to use. 

If you want to know more details about Actron scanners, read on to discover what makes me like and dislike them.

Best Actron scanners comparison chart

Editor's PicksProductOur Rating
Best OverallActron CP96804.6/5
Runner UpActron CP96604.5/5
Best Budget BuyActron CP9125 C4.3/5

3 Best Actron Scanners Review

#1. Actron CP9125 C

Best Budget Buy

  • Scanner type: Code Reader
  • Fit for: Newbies
  • Vehicle type: Car/Light truck
    (Gasoline/Diesel)
  • Connection type: Corded
  • Work on: OBD2 vehicles
  • Price range: Under $100

4.3

Read codes

4.2

Accuracy

4.7

Easy to use

4.8

Value for money

4.0

Buy this scan tool if you want to …

Work with OBD2 gasoline/diesel cars/light trucks
Gain insight before taking your car to the mechanic
Try and fix it yourself
Prepare for a smog check
Test used cars/light trucks of multiple brands before buying
Read engine codes

DON’T buy it if you want to …

Work with heavy-duty trucks or OBD1 vehicles
Read live data, freeze frame data
Read the ABS codes, Airbag codes, and Transmission codes

Pros

  • Reads engine codes
  • Easy to use
  • Super durable
  • Good tech support

Cons

  • Entry-level functions only
  • No free lifetime update
  • Expensive compared to the functions it offers
  • No code definition

What Makes Me Like Actron CP9125 C?

1. My first impression of this code reader is its small size and mobility. I can put it right in my pocket or car’s glove compartment, just like a Bluetooth scanner. It’s convenient to bring CP9125 C along to test used cars around. 

2. The code reader appears to be well-built with durable materials. My dad has been using this Actron for nearly 10 years. It’s still working well on his 2004 GMC Yukon and never glitches.

3. Actron CP9125 C is super easy to use because of its simple design. As you can see, there’re only two buttons, “Read” and “Erase”, on this code reader. In addition, the information’s size on the screen is big enough for anyone with poor eyesight to read clearly.  

actron cp9125 c

4. You can use the “Read” function to narrow down the problem caused by the code. Even though you are not familiar with auto repairs, you can at least locate the general area of the problem and attempt your own fixes. Buying a Chilton manual or searching the internet for ideas helps you increase the chance of finding the cause. Otherwise, the dealer or shop will charge you $80-100 just to pull the codes.

5. Finally, this code reader offers I/M readiness to help pass a smog check. Despite the small screen, you can check if your car is ready or need to solve any engine codes. There’s no need to move between the Emission Testing Center and service shop just to make sure it’s well-prepared for the test.

What I Dislike?

1. The biggest thing I don’t like about this code reader is its high price compared to other competitors. Regarding its functions, I have to say this one offers entry-level features only. Except for reading and clearing engine codes, Actron CP9125 C doesn’t have live data and freeze frame data like other code readers in the same price range. With the price below $50, there are a lot of options that can offer even full OBD2 functions like Launch CR529.  

2. In addition to the price, this code reader has a very short cable. I had to order the extension cord for it because the cord is not long enough to reach so you can work with the unit. Furthermore, it is sometimes difficult to unplug from the OBD port due to the notch that snap-in to prevent it from disconnecting. To unplug it, I have to use a small screwdriver to widen the plug lip.

3. Apparently, there are some hazardous materials with this Actron because I saw a little tag warning that the cable contains lead. You have to wear gloves when handling it or wash your hands after use.

Vehicle Compatibility 

Actron CP9125 C can work on all 1996 and newer cars, vans, SUVs, and light trucks, as well as some OBDII-equipped 1994 – 1995 vehicles. 

You should check with the manufacturer via [email protected] to confirm before buying.

Note: It doesn’t work with hybrids or electric cars.

Bottom Line 

To be honest, Actron CP9125 C didn’t offer enough functions for a DIYer. But if you are a newbie who knows nothing about car repairs, this code reader is super easy to use. Moreover, its ability to endure through time makes CP9125 C assist you in pulling any engine code on your car!

Actron CP9125 C

Launch X431 V Pro

Rating


#2. Actron CP9660

Runner Up

  • Scanner type: Code Reader
  • Fit for: Newbies
  • Vehicle type: Car/Light truck
    (Gasoline/Diesel)
  • Connection type: Corded
  • Work on: OBD2 vehicles
  • Price range: Under $100

4.5

Read codes

4.6

Accuracy

4.7

Easy to use

4.8

Value for money

4.1

Buy this scan tool if you want to …

Work with OBD2 gasoline/diesel cars/light trucks
Gain insight before taking your car to the mechanic
Try and fix it yourself
Prepare for a smog check
Test used cars/light trucks of multiple brands before buying
Read the Engine and ABS codes

DON’T buy it if you want to …

Work with heavy-duty trucks or OBD1 vehicles
Read airbag codes

Pros

  • Reads engine and ABS codes
  • Easy to use
  • Durable
  • Good tech support

Cons

  • No free lifetime update
  • No graphed live data
  • No backlighting
  • Expensive compared to its design

What Makes Me Like Actron CP9660?

1. I really love the function of reading and clearing ABS codes. Although this scanner only supports most 1996-2013 GM, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, Honda, Nissan, and Hyundai vehicles, it’s worth the money. You won’t find any scanner that can read ABS codes for $80. I tested this Actron on some vehicles listed above, like 2007 GMC Envoy, 2004 Buick, 2005 Honda Civic, etc., and it worked well.

actron cp9660

2. Also, unlike Actron CP9125 C, this scanner can help you diagnose and fix the trouble codes by reading live and freeze frame data. You can use this tool to read over 300 PIDS as long as your vehicle supports them. For example, I checked a Chevy to read some parameters such as engine RPM, fuel rail pressure, intake air, and engine coolant temp, etc. 

3. Aside from the two strengths above, CP9660 has a durable material, which makes it last longer, and I can carry it with me off-road like Actron CP9125 C. 

4. Needless to say, Actron CP9660 also supports I/M readiness which can help you increase the chance of passing the smog check.

What I Dislike?

1. Despite the fact that the Actron CP9660 can read live data, it is only displayed in digits. With this feature, it is much easier to read and compare the car’s parameters when it’s up and down. For a DIYer, you might find it inconvenient if you can’t read graphed PIDs.

Personally, I’m disappointed that the scanner cannot graph live data at this price point.

2. The second downside of CP9660 is its screen. A typical small screen without backlighting makes it difficult to read in low-light conditions.

3. Thirdly, Actron CP9660 lacks most standard functions of an OBD2 scanner like EVAP test, O2 sensor test, and On-board monitoring. 

There is one better option for you in this price range, that’s Foxwell NT301. Not only does it offer more features, but it is also cheaper than this Actron CP9660. This full OBD2 scanner can solve problems CP9660 couldn’t. 

If you only need to read engine codes, Foxwell NT301 is worth a try! Or you can pay an extra $10 to own an Innova 5210 that is similar to those two scanners above but supports ABS codes.

Vehicle Compatibility 

Actron CP9660 can work on cars, vans, SUVs, and light trucks from 1996 and newer. In addition, some selected OBDII-equipped 1994 – 1995 vehicles are compatible too.

Please note that the ABS reading is not universal on all vehicles. To be sure, you should check with the manufacturer via [email protected] to confirm before buying.

Note: It doesn’t work with electric cars.

Bottom Line

All in all, Actron CP9660 can provide basic functions to diagnose and reset CEL on your car. But actually, with its price, you can have many better options that are worth the money!

Actron CP9660

Launch X431 V Pro

Rating


#3. Actron CP9680

Best Overall

  • Scanner type: Four-system scan tool
  • Fit for: Newbies, Home mechanics
  • Vehicle type: Car/Light truck
    (Gasoline/Diesel)
  • Connection type: Corded
  • Work on: OBD2 vehicles
  • Price range: Under $200

4.6

Read codes

4.6

Accuracy

4.7

Easy to use

4.5

Value for money

4.5

Buy this scan tool if you want to …

Work with OBD2 gasoline/diesel cars/light trucks
Gain insight before taking your car to the mechanic
Try and fix it yourself
Test used cars/light trucks of multiple brands before buying
Prepare for a smog check
Read and clear engine, transmission, ABS, and airbag codes
Reset the oil light, battery light

DON’T buy it if you want to …

Work with heavy-duty trucks or OBD1 vehicles
Read trouble codes of all systems
Reset the TPMS light

Pros

  • Reads engine, transmission, ABS, and airbag codes
  • Easy to use
  • Free lifetime update
  • Verified fixes for each code
  • Good tech support

Cons

  • CodeConnect is only available in English
  • Only three languages supported
  • No printed user manual included

What Makes Me Like Actron CP9680?

1. In addition to its ability to read 4-system codes, this scanner is great with details of the codes in your vehicle. After showing the code and its definition, you can push the “CodeConnect” button to access verified fixes for each vehicle. As I scrolled through numerous codes and possible causes, it became clear that this was compiled by skilled mechanics.

actron cp9680 codeconnnect

Once I pulled the P0430 code from my customer’s Nissan. CP9680 gave me top-reported fixes, which are replacing the catalytic converter or the downstream O2 sensor. With my diagnosis, the culprit is truly a melted catalytic converter!

So, this will save you a lot of time surfing the Internet to find out the root cause. You now know the most likely solution to your problem, and can choose whether to do the repair yourself or bring the vehicle to a local mechanic. 

2. The second thing I love about this scanner is the prominent design compared to its two brothers above. The display is vastly improved. With a logical button layout and responsive feedback, it is easy to read and navigate. Buttons are well-protected, with rubber boots covering them. Even though they’re waterproof, they are able to resist most gunk and grease. 

3. Firmware is updateable, a big plus for Actron CP9680. The download took about 8-10 minutes. However, the unit doesn’t come with a USB cable for download, so you will need to purchase it if you don’t have any.

4. Furthermore, you have two power source options: OBD2 port and internal batteries. You may leave the gadget plugged in, and it will not deplete the car’s electricity because it runs on its own. This function also allows you to diagnose your car without taking power from the engine.

What I Dislike?

1. First of all, the CP9680 did not come with a user manual. Instead, it has a “Quick Start Guide,” a thin little booklet written in several languages. This scanner has a wide range of functions, I suggest you download the manual in PDF to understand clearly how to make use of every function.

2. Although this scanner can read ABS and SRS codes, somehow, it won’t read your specific vehicle. The answer is you should manually enter your vehicle’s info instead of letting CP9680 recognize it. Although it’s kind of annoying to follow these steps every time you plug the unit into your car, this is the only trick to solve the problem.

But if you like Bluetooth scanners, I highly recommend BlueDriver. It is not only cheaper but also supports reading ABS and SRS codes on more vehicles.

Vehicle Compatibility 

Similar to two scanners above, Actron CP9680 can read and erase 4 types of codes on OBDII-compatible cars from 1996 and newer, plus selected OBDII-equipped 1994 – 1995 vehicles. 

However, ABS and SRS codes are not universally compatible. Contact the manufacturer via [email protected] to see if this feature covers your vehicle. 

Note: It doesn’t work with electric cars.

Bottom Line

All things considered, Actron CP9680 is a good four-system scan tool if you intend on diagnosing and fixing yourself. But frankly, if I were you, I would choose other scanners with better prices and more functions like BlueDriver.

Actron CP9680

Launch X431 V Pro

Rating

Conclusion

Now you should have all the information about the Actron scanners to make an educated decision.

An Actron OBD2 scanner will save you a lot of time and money in the long run.

Buy one today and enjoy it every time you use it.

And when you do, be sure to leave a comment below to let me know how you like it!

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