9 Best Cheap OBD2 Car Code Readers (Under $70) Review 2018

Car Code Reader, also known as Cheap OBD2 Scanner, is one of the 3 types of OBD Scanners.

In this article, I’m going to review the Best Car Code Readers (best cheap OBD2 Scanners) in 2018. The code readers are Bluetooth, WIFI, or hand-held.

Their prices range between $12 and $70. They make very good choices if you are shopping on a budget OBD2 code reader.

Best Car Code Readers (Cheap OBD2 Scanners) Review

#1. Autel AutoLink AL319 Engine Light Code Reader for Cars

Autolink AL319 review
Autel Autolink AL319 OBD2 Car Code Reader
(4.5 / 5)
Autel Al319 does a pretty decent job at reading and clearing engine codes. Also, the automobile code reader can display freeze frame data.

Why Buying Autel Autolink AL319?

As an OBD2 code reader, the AutoLink AL319 is designed to work on all vehicles manufactured in 1996 and later years. Some of them to include are 2011 Audi A4, 2011 BMW 3-Series, 2010 Mercedes E-Class, 2008 Honda Accord, 2006 Nissan Altima and 1997 Mitsubishi Outlander.

There’s barely any other budget OBD2 scanner that can beat the speed of this unit. It will pull every fault code from every OBD2 protocol in your vehicle. What impressed me more is the scanner’s DTC lookup.

You can simply check the library for a code’s definition in case you don’t know or you forgot what it means. The library has generic codes; i.e. P0, P2, P3 U0 and U3 codes. For manufacturer-specific codes, you may need to research online.

In addition to the screen, this cheap OBD2 scanner uses color coding to relay diagnostic data. It has three LEDs for that (red, yellow and green).

On the scanner is a key dedicated to I/M Readiness checks and drive cycle verification.

It’s a good thing that Autel offers downloadable updates.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Multilingual menu; supports English, German, French, Spanish etc.
  • Small and compact for easy portability
  • Features a screen and LED notifications for data relay and analysis
  • Very affordable
  • Covers almost all OBD2-compliant vehicles

Cons

  • The code reader can only read engine codes.
  • No In-built DTC Lookup Library

Who is it built for?

This budget OBD2 scanner is a perfect pick for ordinary car owners, including beginners. In addition to covering all OBD2 protocols, it pulls codes and even defines them. That means you don’t even need expert knowledge to understand the data it provides.

#2. OxGord MS300 Engine Light Code Reader for Car

OxGord MS300 review
OxGord MS300 Universal Diagnostic for Car, SUV, Truck, and Van
(3.9 / 5)
If you’re looking for a simple user interface and don’t want to mess around with the wireless connection, this is the scanner for you.

Why Buying OxGord MS300?

This engine light code reader is the most traditional scanner on our list. It’s an old-fashioned hand-held scanner with a built-in cord to plug into your diagnostic port.

It reads both generic and manufacturer-specific trouble codes and clears them with ease. If you’re looking for a simple user interface and don’t want to mess around with the wireless connection, this is the scanner for you.

The simple 2-button operation makes it easy for anyone to use.

The downside of the simplicity of this scanner is it doesn’t give you the wide range of information or features that other scanners at this price point can offer.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Can read and clear DTC codes;
  • Helps turn off the CEL;
  • Affordable.

Cons

  • Possible Compatibility issue.

Who is it for?

OxGord MS300 engine light code reader is one of the best auto code readers for any car owners who wish to turn off the Check Engine Light.

#3. ANCEL AD410 Vehicle Code Reader for O2 and Evap Test

Ancel AD410 review
Ancel AD410 Enhanced Vehicle Code Reader
(4.3 / 5)
The Ancel AD410 is a low-cost and accurate scanner, which makes it the perfect car code reader for beginners and ordinary car owners.

Why Buying ANCEL AD410?

Primarily as an OBD2 scan tool, the Ancel AD410 is meant to cover most vehicles made from 1996 to date. It works on most OBD2 compliant vehicles sold in the USA, whether they are locally made or foreign.

ANCEL AD410 is a handy scanner for the basic diagnostic functions. The affordable OBD2 Scanner can read and clear engine codes. Additionally, it can trigger the O2 sensor and EVAP sensor tests.

Despite the limited functionality, the Ancel AD410 does display live data from a vehicle’s engine system.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Compatible with a wide variety of OBD2 vehicles.
  • Excellent for turning Check Engine Light off
  • A multilingual menu consisting of English, French, Spanish, German, Russian etc.
  • Supports O2 and EVAP tests
  • Built with a large, clear and color display
  • Can save and print diagnostic reports

Cons

  • Doesn’t give sufficient description of codes
  • Only supports engine diagnostics
  • Possible vehicle compatibility problem

Who is it built for?

The Ancel AD410 is a low-cost and accurate scanner, which makes it the perfect car code reader for beginners and ordinary car owners.

It’s nowhere near as great as professional diagnostic tools but it will help you turn the Check Engine Light off and run emission tests.

#4. JDiag JD101 Cheap Code Scanner with Battery Test

JDiag JD101 review
JDiag JD101 Code Reader
(4.7 / 5)
Despite the few flaws, the JDiag JD101 is overall a great entry-level OBD2 scanner for money. It is particularly good value for ordinary car owners and beginners.

Why Buying JDiag JD101?

The JDiag JD101 costs less than what you will pay just to get a diagnostic report from the shop. It really is the definition of a budget OBD2 scanner.

This car code reader can work on most 1996 and newer US-based as well as 2000 and newer EU & Asian-made vehicles.

The JDiag JD101 is an excellent scan tool for reading engine codes. This cheap OBD2 scan tool actually provides very accurate diagnostic data. You can totally rely on it whenever your Check Engine Light comes on.

It can also run I/M readiness and battery tests, which will help you keep the vehicle in a very good condition.

This affordable OBD2 scan tool has a live data mode that lets you know the status of your battery, voltage and calibration ID. You can also view freeze frame data and the vehicle’s information (VIN, CIN, and CVN).

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Built with a large and clear LCD display
  • Palm-sized for easy portability
  • A multilingual menu that includes English, Germany, Spanish, French, Russian etc.
  • Excellent at reading and clearing engine codes
  • Can also retrieve vehicle information

Cons

  • The display is not color
  • It also didn’t come with a USB cable (for updating).
  • Offers very basic diagnostic functions (doesn’t even pull ABS, SRS and transmission codes.)
  • Doesn’t work on as many vehicles as claimed by JDiag

Who is it built for?

Despite the few flaws, the JDiag JD101 is overall a great entry-level OBD2 scanner for money. It is particularly good value for ordinary car owners and beginners.

You won’t spend much on it but it offers just enough functions to diagnose the Check Engine Light, test emissions and retrieve a vehicle’s info.

A video about JDiag JD101:

#5. FOXWELL NT301 Cheap OBD2 Car Scanner with Mode 6 and DTC Lookup

Foxwell NT301 review
FOXWELL NT301 Car OBD2 Scan Tool
(4.3 / 5)
The Foxwell NT301 car code reader is great for pulling engine codes, resetting the Check Engine Light and running emission tests. If you are a car owner those are the functions you really need in your OBD2 scan tool.

Why Buying Foxwell NT301?

The coverage of Foxwell NT301 is impressive. This affordable OBD2 scanner can work on almost all OBD2 vehicles.

The Foxwell NT301 is primarily for checking engine fault codes. It can read and erase DTCs and even provide a brief description of the codes. With it, you can accurately determine the cause of the Check Engine Light and turn it off.

Besides codes, the NT301 also provides access to emission tests and performs mode 6 tests. The other handy function is the ability to connect to a PC and print diagnostic results. You will love this feature if you prefer analyzing your diagnostic data on a computer.

While still on the topic of data, the Foxwell NT301 shows live sensor data in graphical or text formats.

It even has an automatic VIN feature that identifies vehicles and makes it easier to read DTCs.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Great for reading and clearing engine codes and thus resetting the Check Engine Light
  • Features hotkeys (shortcuts) for codes and I/M readiness
  • Can test emission readiness
  • Supports almost all OBD2 vehicles
  • Has LEDs for color coding
  • Compact and portable size

Cons

  • It only works on gas engines, not diesel
  • Could use a better user manual and code library
  • Cannot update using Mac system

Who is it built for?

There’s no question that the NT301 is a bit complicated for the ordinary car owner.

I find that ironic because it is made (and is, in fact, ideal) for the layperson. But if you are willing to take time and learn how it works you won’t regret.

The car code reader is the best for pulling engine codes, resetting the Check Engine Light and running emission tests. If you are a car owner, those are the functions you really need in your auto code reader.

A video of Foxwell NT301:

#6. BAFX Products Bluetooth Cheap OBD2 Adapter for Android Devices

BAFX review
BAFX Bluetooth Diagnostic OBDII Code Reader
(4.4 / 5)
What you get when you buy the BAFX Bluetooth scanner is basically an adapter. It becomes a full scanner when you connect it to a mobile device via Bluetooth. To do that, simply plug the adapter into the vehicle’s OBD2 port, wait for its red light to come on and then pair it with your mobile device.

Why Buying BAFX Products for Android?

The BAFX Products Bluetooth Adapter is a Cheap Car Code Reader that can perform both basic and advanced diagnostics.

It is able to read generic as well as vehicle-specific engine codes. More specifically, the cheap scanner can read and clear emissions and powertrain data quite impressively.

It reads PIDs from every sensor in a vehicle’s onboard systems. Now what that means is you can check the vehicle’s monitors and some performance parameters such as emission sensors, air/fuel ratio, oil temp, coolant temp, DPF temp, fuel pressure etc.

The good news is that this OBD2 code reader is compatible with pretty much any Android/Windows device that is Bluetooth-enabled.

As you probably already know, the smartphone/tablet needs to have an OBD2 diagnostic app installed. While I prefer Torque Pro, you can use any other Android or Windows app. Your options include HobDrive, OBD Car Doctor, DashCommand, Piston and Carista among many others.

Speaking of vehicles, this BAFX scanner covers most OBD2 makes and models including Ford, Hyundai, Chevrolet, Honda, Subaru, Toyota, and BMW.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Makes a good budget OBD2 code reader
  • Can monitor a vehicle’s systems continuously
  • Comes with a 1-year warranty
  • Very strong Bluetooth connection
  • Can read monitors
  • Reads and clears engine codes

Cons

  • Doesn’t support reading and clearing of SRS, ABS, transmission and chassis codes
  • Doesn’t work with iOS devices

Who is it built for?

The affordable price tag, wide vehicle coverage, effectiveness in reading and clearing engine codes and few advanced functions make this cheap OBD2 code reader the best for ordinary car owners and DIYers.

#7. VEEPEAK OBDCheck BLE Bluetooth Code Scanner for iOS & Android

veepeak obdcheck review
Veepeak OBDCheck BLE Bluetooth OBD2 Scanner
(4.2 / 5)
This affordable OBD2 scanner is actually an adapter. You have to pair it with a phone/tablet via Bluetooth to run diagnostics. That said, it plugs to the OBD2 port of a vehicle effortlessly and syncs with whatever OBD2 app you have flawlessly.

Why Buying VEEPEAK OBDCheck BLE?

Veepeak OBDCheck BLE is meant to turn your iOS, Android or Windows device into a powerful car diagnostic tool.

The compatibility of this affordable OBD2 Adapter is excellent. It covers all OBD2 vehicles, works with all Bluetooth-enabled iOS, Android and Windows devices and supports all OBD2 diagnostic apps. You can’t ask for anything more.

Although it is a cheap OBD scanner, the VEEPEAK OBDCheck BLE can read and clear engine DTCs – generic and manufacturer-specific.

Of course, the range of functions depends on the app you are using. With the Car Gauge Pro I was able to read and clear codes, test an injector buzz and view live data streams.

Other apps like Torque Pro will even allow you to save diagnostic data. So don’t go for the free stuff at the expense of better functionality.

The best part is that it can do real-time monitoring. And you get to do all diagnostics from the comfort of your smartphone or tablet!

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Compatible with ALL OBD2-compliant vehicles, domestic and foreign
  • Works with Android, iOS and Windows devices
  • Small, compact and suitable for real-time monitoring
  • Supports all OBD2 diagnostic apps
  • Creates a strong Bluetooth connection with the mobile device
  • Doesn’t use Wi-Fi, which allows the user to access the internet simultaneously

Cons

  • Only reads engine data, doesn’t diagnose ABS, SRS, transmission and other systems
  • A third-party app is needed.

Who is it built for?

I highly recommend this affordable car code reader for car owners and drivers.

Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or DIY person, it will help you check for engine problems.

#8. KOBRA Products Wireless Cheap OBD2 Adapter for Android, iOS, Windows

Kobra review
KOBRA Wireless OBD2 Car Code Reader
(3.8 / 5)
It is a wireless car diagnostic tool, which means it doesn’t work as a stand-alone device. You have to pair it with a mobile device (smartphone or tablet) via Wi-Fi. As far as that compatibility, the Kobra connects to Android, iOS and Windows devices without any problems.

Why Buying KOBRA Wireless OBD2 Adapter?

This OBD2 Car code reader works on all vehicles made from 1996 to date.

Simply plug the KOBRA OBD2 Code Reader into the OBD2 port of the vehicle and it will be good to go. It needs an OBD2 app though before running diagnostics. Some of the ones include Torque Pro and DashCommand, OBD Fusion.

As far as that compatibility, the Kobra connects to Android, iOS and Windows devices without any problems. Despite being an OBD2 scanner for money, the device actually creates a very strong Wi-Fi network with any mobile device. You’re able to connect it to an iPhone 8 Plus and Samsung Galaxy Note 5 very easily.

The Kobra scanner does read and clear codes. But it only works for engine codes. So you can’t check or erase codes for other systems like ABS, SRS, and transmission. You can, however, reset the Check Engine Light and even confirm when the codes were cleared last.

Perhaps the most advanced function of the Kobra scanner is showing live data streams. But again, that depends on the diagnostics app you’re using.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Very affordable unit
  • Covers all vehicle models and supports all OBD2 diagnostic apps
  • Can reset the Check Engine Light
  • Compatible with iOS and Android
  • Sturdy and durable construction

Cons

  • Doesn’t offer much in terms of advanced diagnostics
  • Doesn’t work with Windows smartphones
  • Internet Access likely lost while connecting the scanner with your smartphone/tablet.

Who is it built for?

The Kobra Wireless OBD2 Adapter is a car code reader designed for entry-level use.

It is specifically ideal for ordinary car owners who are looking for an affordable OBD2 Scanner.

#9. OBDLink MX Bluetooth OBD2 Adapter for Android and Windows

OBDlink MX review
ScanTool OBDLink MX Bluetooth OBD2 Adapter
(4.2 / 5)
The OBDLink MX is amazingly easy to set up. It pairs nicely with any Android or Windows smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth. You can also use it with a Bluetooth-enabled PC that runs on Windows.

Why Buying OBDLink MX?

OBDLink MX is a cheap OBD2 code reader that covers all OBD2 vehicles, works on Android and Windows devices and supports most third-party diagnostic apps. It pairs nicely with any Android or Windows smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth.

OBDLink MX helps monitor your vehicles. You can leave it plugged in the car and it will monitor the engine’s performance in real-time. Apps like Torque Pro usually build CSV files for logging parameters every time you drive the vehicle. You can monitor such things as intake air temp, RPM, boost and a couple of other parameters.

The most basic function of this affordable OBD2 scanner is reading and clearing codes. Depending on the diagnostic app you have on your phone, you can also get access to the engine, transmission, ABS, and SRS.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Small enough to leave plugged in
  • Very fast when relaying diagnostic data
  • Can Check ABS, SRS, Engine, Transmission codes
  • Works with all Android and Windows mobile devices that are Bluetooth-enabled
  • Supports all third-party diagnostic apps
  • Can do full-time vehicle monitoring without draining the battery
  • Covers most OBD2-compliant vehicles

Cons

  • Doesn’t support iOS devices (Apple products);
  • Not for hybrids and electric vehicles;

Who is it built for?

The OBDLink MX is best for car dealers. Its diagnostic capabilities will save you from buying a bad car. It works very fast and can pull codes in just 12-15 seconds. You need that fast performance if you are to inspect tens or hundreds of vehicles per day.

Car owners or DIYers will find it very helpful, too.

Recommendation

Below are the Editor’s Top 3 Picks of the Best Car Code Readers for your convenient shopping.

VEEPEAK OBDCheck BLE
Veepeak OBDCheck BLE Adapter for iOS and Android
Autel Al319
Autel AutoLink AL319 Code Reader

bafx products
BAFX Products Adapter for Android
Customer Rating (3.9 / 5) (4.4 / 5) (4.4 / 5)
Priceveepeak obdcheck ble priceautel al319 pricebafx produtcs price
ProsIt can read, clear, and reset CEL codes; smog check; real time sensor reading, etc.Features a screen and LED notifications for data relay and analysis; Covers almost all OBD2-compliant vehicles.Can monitor a vehicle’s systems continuously; Very strong Bluetooth connection; Reads and clears engine codes
ConsSometimes the connection is automatically lost after 2-3 minutes.It’s a very basic unit that might not fit a professional’s needs.Doesn’t support reading and clearing of SRS, ABS, transmission and chassis codes
Bottom LineVEEPEAK OBDCheck BLE is ideal for beginners who want to scan cars or light trucks.Autel AL319 is the perfect pick for ordinary car owners.BAFX Products is the best code reader for the ordinary car owner and DIYer.

The Bottom Line

You don’t need to dent your bank account just to own a reliable car code reader.

As you can see the ones listed above offer some of the most important OBD2 diagnostic functions. And they come with very attractive price tags.

Simply pinpoint the functions that you need in a code reader for cars and then pick the best car code reader that matches them.

Don’t forget to check whether your preferred choice is compatible with your vehicle.

How to Use a Diagnostic Code Reader Video

Read more: Best OBD2 Scanners Review 2018

Please follow and like us:
2

2 thoughts on “9 Best Cheap OBD2 Car Code Readers (Under $70) Review 2018

  1. Hi,
    Have you ever reviewed the VXDAS AN3011 OBD2 CODE READER/ SCAN TOOL?
    The reason I ask is because I recently came across it and it has many features not offered on other tools at a very affordable (Approx. $29.00) price. Thanks
    Donald

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.