[Tested] 8 Best Professional Car Diagnostic Tools 2024

Tim Miller

Quick Recommendations:

Our team, led by our tester Jeff Keen, worked diligently for two weeks to put 23 different automotive OBD2 scanners to the test.

We tested them on 11 different vehicles to ensure their compatibility, and now we’re excited to present the top 10 professional choices to you!

The OBD2 scanners included in this post are designed to work on multiple car makes. There are 2 options for beginners, 3 choices for home mechanics, 3 ones for professionals/shops, and 2 ones with ECU programming.

If you’re looking for a scanner for a single car brand, go to this page

Let’s dive in!

Testing Records

TestersOBD Advisor’s Testers
Testing durationOct 17th – Oct 31st, 2023
Number of tested products23
Number of tested vehicles11

Best Professional OBD2 Scanners Full Comparison Chart

Tip: Use the filters below to find ones that best fit your needs and budget.

[Editor's Pick] INNOVA 5610
INNOVA 5210
OBDLink MX+
Autel MK808S
Launch V+ PRO
Topdon Phoenix Plus
XTOOL D9S Pro
Autel Ultra
Customer Rating4.9/54.5/54.6/54.5/54.3/54.5/54.2/54.6/5
DIAGNOSTICS
Full-system diagnosis
-
Active tests
-
-
OEM-level diagnosis
-
-
-
Topology map
-
-
-
-
SERVICE FUNCTIONS
Number of functions
6
1
3
28+
35+
41+
42+
40+
Oil/ TPMS reset
ABS Bleeding
-
-
DPF regen
-
-
Throttle relearn
-
-
Crank relearn
-
-
SAS calibration
-
-
ADVANCED FUNCTIONS
Key programming
-
-
-
ECU coding
-
-
-
-
ECU programming
-
-
-
-
-
-
VEHICLE COVERAGE
Cars & light trucks
Heavy duty trucks
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
CAN FD protocols
-
-
-
-
-
-
DESIGN & HARDWARE
Processor
-
-
-
Cortex-A55
8-Core 1.8 GHz
4-Core 2.0GHz
4-Core 1.8GHz
8-Core
Memory
-
-
-
4GB + 64GB
32GB + 128GB
4GB + 64GB
2GB + 128GB
4GB + 256GB
Android OS
-
-
-
11.0
9.0
10.0
10.0
7.0
Screen size
3.5"
2.8"
Depends
7"
10.1"
10.1"
9.7"
12.9’’
Battery capacity
-
-
-
5000mAh
7000mAh
12600mAh
10000mAh
18000mAh
Docking station
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
Wireless connection
-
-
-
AFTER-SALES SERVICE
Free update
Lifetime
Lifetime
Lifetime
1 year
2 years
2 years
3 years
1 year
Warranty
1 year
1 year
1 year
1 year
5 years
1 year
2 years
1 year
Update fee
Lifetime free
Lifetime free
Lifetime free
$125/year
$399/year
$545/year
$399
$1695/year
Customer service
9.0/10
9.0/10
8.5/10
8/10
7.5/10
9/10
10/10
8/10
Check Price
Check Price
Check Price
Check Price
Check Price
Check Price
Check Price
Check Price


Best Professional OBD2 Scanners for Home Mechanics

The best choice for home mechanics is INNOVA 5610. The other two choices for consideration are Autel MK808S and Launch CRP919E.

#1. Innova 5610

INNOVA 5610

INNOVA 5610

★★★★★
★★★★★
4.9/5

Price: Under $300

INNOVA 5610 may not be the best for active tests, but its reliability and lifetime free updates make it a good choice for those on a budget who need bi-directional control.

Pros

  • Very cheap
  • Repair solutions app for phone
  • Lifetime free update

Cons

  • Limited bi-directional controls

The INNOVA 5610 is a professional OBD2 scanner designed for home use. Its best feature is the bidirectional control, which allows you to perform active tests on the engine system. However, we found that the INNOVA 5610 only offers around 10 tests for the engine system, such as controlling the cooling fan or adjusting the volume. These tests work reliably, and the communication between the scanner and the vehicle is smooth, with immediate responses from the vehicle to each command.

Similar to the INNOVA 5210 mentioned earlier, the INNOVA 5610 is also incredibly fast. Since it scans all systems of the vehicle, not just three, it may take a bit longer to retrieve all the codes, but it’s still fast, usually under 1 minute. Live data is displayed in under 15 seconds. However, if you’re new to using a scanner or have limited knowledge in this field, you may feel overwhelmed by the various data parameters (PIDs) displayed. You’ll need to search for the definition of each PID separately, as the INNOVA 5610 doesn’t provide clear explanations.

One issue we encountered is with the ABS Bleeding function of the INNOVA 5610. While other special functions like oil reset and battery reset worked well on our testing vehicles, the ABS Bleeding function only supports around 60% of vehicles, which is a problem.

Today’s best Innova 5610 price:

#2. Autel MK808S

Autel MK808S

Autel MK808S

★★★★★
★★★★★
4.5/5

Price: Under $500

The Autel MK808S is a reliable scan tool with durable hardware, wide vehicle coverage, and bi-directional control, which is ideal for independent DIY auto enthusiasts.

Pros

  • Full bi-directional control supported
  • A product from reputable brand
  • Very fast

Cons

  • No ECU coding supported

If you’re after a good, budget-friendly scanner from a well-known brand, we recommend the Autel MK808S. 

After testing, here’s what we found.

Because it comes from a big-name brand like Autel, you can trust that it works well and is easy to use. 

During our testing, what stood out the most was how quickly it responded. Among Autel MK808S, XTOOL D7, and Launch CRP919E, Autel MK808S is the fastest. Autel upgraded its hardware to make it more efficient, and that sets it apart from other scanners in the same price range, like the XTOOL D7 or Launch CRP919E.

The way Autel designed the interface is user-friendly, and my testing team had no issues with it.

On the other hand, while the MK808S is great for most new professionals, it lacks one feature that the D7 and CRP919E have – ECU coding. But that’s the trade-off when you go with a more established brand.

But don’t worry; it may lack that one function, but its other features like full-system diagnostics, active tests, and service functions work really well and smoothly.

Today’s best Autel MK808S price:

Read more: LAUNCH CRP919E vs. Autel MK808S: Which One Should I Choose?

Best Professional OBD2 Scanners For Beginners

The best Bluetooth OBD2 scanner for beginners is Bluedriver. If you prefer cable, INNOVA 5210 is your best choice.

#1. Innova 5210

INNOVA 5210

INNOVA 5210

★★★★★
★★★★★
4.5/5

Price: Under $100

INNOVA 5210 proves to be an excellent choice for beginners aiming to maintain their vehicles. Its affordability and user-friendly design are standout features we appreciate.

Pros

  • Cheap
  • Fast
  • Accurate codes

Cons

  • Short cable
  • Basic functions supported

The INNOVA 5210 is a great tool for beginners who want to take care of their vehicles. When we first used it, we found the menu a bit confusing, but after a few minutes, we got used to it. The scanner is incredibly fast and one of the quickest we’ve tested. It can diagnose engine, transmission, and ABS systems and display fault codes in under 30 seconds. It also shows live data in under 10 seconds, which is impressive. However, we noticed that it only shows live data for the engine system.

One thing to note is that the INNOVA 5210 has limited special functions, but considering its price, it’s quite suitable. We tested the Oil Reset function, but it only works for about 80% of vehicles. The standout feature of this scanner is the battery and alternator tests. We tried them on various vehicles, and the results were consistently accurate.

Overall, the INNOVA 5210 is a great option for beginners who want to perform sufficient and quick diagnostics at home. If you’re looking for something with more advanced functions, you may want to explore other options.

Today’s best Innova 5210 price:

#2. OBDLink MX+

OBDLink MX+

OBDLink MX+

★★★★★
★★★★★
4.6/5

Price: Under $150

OBDLink MX+ and Carista is a powerful combination that can help home mechanics diagnose and fix problems with Audi models.

It’s easy to use and comes with useful features, making it a solid investment for DIY car repairs.

Pros

  • Customizable gauge for live data
  • Fast refresh live data
  • Perfect for specific car brands

Cons

  • Random connection troubles

We’ve found that OBDLink MX+ outperform BlueDriver when it comes to viewing live data, and here’s why:

Firstly, OBDLink MX+ impresses us with its speedy refresh rate. Even when we chose up to 6 PIDs to display on live data, it updated smoothly with no lag at all.

Secondly, OBDLink MX+ can display live data for various systems like ABS, SRS, and TPMS. This is particularly useful for certain car brands that have Enhanced diagnostics add-ons, such as Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Mazda, Toyota, Lexus, Scion, Nissan, and Infiniti.

Unlike BlueDriver, OBDLink MX+ can work with other OBD2 third-party apps like:

  • Carista: for Toyota and Audi
  • BimmerCode: for BMW

By pairing OBDLink MX+ with these powerful apps, you can unlock advanced functions like ECU coding. This makes OBDLink MX+ a top choice for those looking for more comprehensive diagnostics.

While OBDLink MX+ is the priciest scanner among our recommended options, it’s worth considering for its superior live data capabilities. However, it’s important to balance this with your budget and decide which option suits you best.

Today’s best OBDLink MX+ price:

Best Professional Car Diagnostic Tools [for Pros/Shops]

The best OBD2 scan tool for professionals or shops is Launch X431 V+ PRO. The other options are XTOOL D8BT and TOPDON Phoenix Plus.

#1. Launch X431 V+ PRO

LAUNCH X431 V+ PRO

LAUNCH X431 V+ PRO

★★★★★
★★★★★
4.3/5

Price: Under $1,500

LAUNCH X431 V+ PRO is a powerful diagnostic scanner designed for professionals or small to mid-sized shops, with a wide range of shop-level features.

Pros

  • Accurate topology map
  • Full bi-directional control
  • 90% manufacturer-level functions supported
  • OBD1 & OBD2 vehicles supported
  • User-friendly interface

Cons

  • Unreliable AutoVIN function
  • Expensive update fee

In the $1,000 price range, the Launch X431 V+ PRO stands out as a top-value professional scanner, and our tests have proven its excellent performance.

One of its major strengths is its broad vehicle coverage. We haven’t found many scanners in this price range that can handle both OBD2 and OBD1 vehicles. Plus, it comes with the OBD1 connector, so you’re good to go.

The topology map feature is another standout. Compared to the D8BT in this list, the V+’s topology map is more polished and accurate. It’s particularly great because it scans systems quickly.

For other functions, the Launch X431 V+ PRO works just as well as the AUTEL MK808S. But what sets it apart is its speed – it’s faster than the AUTEL MK808S. The screen responds well, offering us a smooth experience. The user-friendly interface is another plus, better than the MK808S.

Sure, the update fee is a bit expensive ($430), but for mechanics or shops, it’s manageable.

To sum it up, the Launch X431 V+ PRO is a more suitable choice for mechanic shops or professionals working with multiple cars.

Today’s best Launch X431 V+ PRO price:

Read more: Launch X431 V+ vs. Topdon Phoenix Plus: Which Scanner Fits You Best?

#2. TOPDON Phoenix Plus

TOPDON Phoenix Plus

TOPDON Phoenix Plus

★★★★★
★★★★★
4.5/5

Price:

TOPDON Phoenix Plus is a comprehensive and reliable scan tool for professionals and DIY enthusiasts, with extensive brand coverage and unique topology map.

Pros

  • Topology map supported
  • Relatively fast
  • Longer battery life
  • Good customer support

Cons

  • A bit high subscription fee

In this price range, Topdon Phoenix Plus is a great option. When it comes to functionality, we didn’t notice any significant difference between it and the Launch X431 V+. They’re quite similar in what they offer.

The Phoenix Plus comes with a wide range of functions, including ECU coding and generous 41 service functions, covering a variety of car repair and maintenance needs.

Using it was a breeze, and it performed well in our experience. 

One thing to note is that Bluetooth-connected scanners rely on internal batteries, and the Phoenix Plus does this really well. Its battery lasts notably longer, about 3 hours more than the V+.

In terms of speed, whether it’s scanning or performing active tests, the Phoenix Plus is quite quick, though it might be a bit slower than the V+.

What sets Topdon apart is their good customer support, which we’d rate as a solid 9 out of 10.

If you’re considering trying a scanner from a newer company known for great customer support, the Topdon Phoenix Plus is a reliable choice.

Today’s best TOPDON Phoenix Plus price:

Read more: Launch X431 V+ vs. Topdon Phoenix Plus: Which Scanner Fits You Best?

Best Professional Scan Tools with ECU Programming

The most affordable scan tool with ECU programming is XTOOL D9 Pro. If you need extra features for your shop, Autel MaxSys Ultra is your best choice.

#1. XTOOL D9S PRO

XTOOL D9S PRO

XTOOL D9S PRO

★★★★★
★★★★★
4.2/5

Price: Under $1,500

The XTOOL D9S PRO is an affordable scan tool that offers ECU programming functions and a wide range of service capabilities.

Pros

  • Affordable price
  • ECU programming for 5 brands
  • Very fast
  • Excellent tech support

Cons

  • Slight dimness of the screen outdoors

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly scanner that can also do ECU programming, the XTOOL D9S Pro is the one to consider. 

XTOOL’s products are known for being affordable and offering dealer-level functions, and this one is no different.

This scanner goes beyond the basics, allowing you to perform ECU programming. What’s really surprising is that it offers all of this for under $1500. However, it’s important to note that ECU programming is supported for just five specific brands, including Benz and BMW, which are important brands.

In terms of speed and performance, we’re genuinely impressed. The screen is incredibly smooth, and the scanner responds quickly. This efficiency can save you a lot of time when you’re using it.

In a nutshell, the XTOOL D9S Pro is an excellent choice for anyone in need of an affordable scanner with ECU programming capabilities.

Today’s best XTOOL D9S Pro price:

#2. Autel MaxiSys Ultra

Autel MaxiSys Ultra

Autel maxisys ultra

★★★★★
★★★★★
4.6/5

Price:

The Autel Maxisys Ultra is the ultimate diagnostic scanner for professionals and repair shop owners, with advanced features to solve even the most challenging problems.

Pros

  • 5-in-1 VCMI included
  • Advanced BMW and Benz ECU programming and coding
  • Comprehensive reset services
  • 8+ hours of battery life
  • Useful split screen
  • Incredibly fast

Cons

  • Relatively high price range

If you’re looking for a scanner that can match up to Snap-on, the Autel Ultra is a fantastic choice that won’t let you down.

Yes, it’s the priciest scanner with ECU programming, but it impresses us with its versatility. It covers almost 95% of the important needs of an automotive shop. 

The standout feature here is the valuable $2,000 VCMI, which combines five functions: multimeter, oscilloscope, waveform generator, CAN BUS check, and VCI.

Don’t worry about it being too complex to use. Our team of testers, including both professionals and home mechanics, found it surprisingly easy to use after a bit of practice.

One more thing, the Autel Ultra is incredibly fast, earning its place as the quickest scanner on this list.

If we had to find a downside, it’s the high price, which might not be ideal for personal use. However, if you own an auto shop, this scanner is a solid investment.

Today’s best Autel Ultra prices:

Read more: Autel Maxisys Ultra Review: A Professional Scan Tool That Can Do Anything





OBD2 Scanners Buying Guide

Our quick guide to selecting an OBD2 scanner – just a quick 3-minute video!

1. Determine Your Need and Budget

When choosing a scanner, it’s essential to find one that meets your specific needs without overspending. 

We’ve divided scanner users into three main groups: beginners, home mechanics, and professionals. Each group has a specific type of scanner that suits their needs. This categorization helps you easily find the right scanner that matches your requirements.

  • Beginners: If you’re new to scanners and have limited knowledge, a scanner for beginners priced under $100 should suffice.
  • Home mechanics: If you’re comfortable performing basic repairs at home, a scanner for home mechanics priced under or around $500 is suitable.
  • Professionals/ Shop: For those with extensive technical knowledge, capable of handling both basic and advanced tasks on various vehicles, the price range of professional scanners varies widely. You can expect to find options ranging from around $500 to over $4000.

2. Things To Consider Before Buying a Scanner

When selecting a vehicle diagnostic tool, keep these aspects in mind:

  • Performance: This is crucial. Look for a tool that provides fast and accurate diagnostics and can handle other maintenance tasks reliably.
  • Compatibility: Ensure the tool is compatible with your vehicles. Check if it supports the specific makes, models, and protocols you’ll be working with.
  • Ease of use: Look for a tool that offers clear instructions, easy navigation, and a well-ordered menu system, especially if you’re a beginner.
  • After-sales service: Consider reliable customer support and assess if the tool offers free updates and reasonable update fees. This saves you money and keeps your tool up-to-date.
  • Durability: Look for a well-built device with quality materials and components that can endure the demands of automotive diagnostics.

To make it easier for you, we have provided a rating score for each aspect of the scanner. A score of 8.5 or higher indicates good performance in that aspect.

Additionally, we have an overall score called the OBD Advisor Rating, which combines all five aspects. We recommend choosing products with an OA Rating of 8.5 or higher for the best performance and satisfaction. 

You can see more about how we test and rate these aspects on our “How we test/rate” page.

3. Choose Your Scanner

Once you’ve identified your user type and considered the aspects mentioned above, you can read our reviews and ratings for each scanner to help narrow down your options. 

Sometimes, you may have 2-3 scanners that stand out. In such cases, you can compare them using our “Full comparison chart” to make your final decision. 

When you’re ready to purchase, you can use the links provided in our post, which may earn us a commission without compromising our honest reviews of any scanner.

Conclusion

Every scan tool in this review has revealed unique features for different professionals. 

Don’t forget to share your thoughts and let me know your chosen scanner in the comments.

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