Zurich ZR13 Vs. ZR8 Vs. ZR11: Which Suits A Home Mechanic?

Our editors pick the products & services we write about. When you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Learn more.

Do you want an affordable way to maintain and repair your car at home? A Zurich scanner might be the right tool for the job. These reliable and user-friendly OBD2 diagnostic scanners are competitively priced for the features they offer, with broad vehicle compatibility that gives them a lot of versatility.

An OBD2 scan tool can be a big money saver even if you don’t feel comfortable making your repairs. A wide range of different issues can trigger your check engine light, and not all of them need the attention of a mechanic. With the Zurich ZR13, ZR8, or ZR11, you’ll know when it’s time to consult a pro and when you can save yourself the trip.

In this article, we’ll compare the features and design of the Zurich ZR13 vs. ZR8 vs. ZR11 so you can decide which one is the best fit for you. While they share many great features, you’ll see that each is designed for a different type of user.

Zurich ZR13 Vs. ZR8 Vs. ZR11 comparison table

Zurich ZR13
Zurich ZR13
Check Price
Zurich ZR8
Zurich ZR8
Check Price
Zurich ZR11
Zurich ZR11
Check Price
Customer Rating
3.8
4.1
4.1
Price range
$159-$179$159-$179$119-$129
OBD2 functions10/1010/1010/10
System diagnostics5/105/105/10
Advanced service functions4/104/104/10
Battery Reset✔️✔️✔️
Battery/Alternator Test✔️✔️✔️
Oil Reset✔️✔️--
Vehicle coverageCars, SUVs, 12V trucksCars, SUVs, 12V trucksCars, SUVs, 12V trucks

*Notes: Excellent: 9-10; Good: 7-8; Fair: 5-6; Poor: 3-4; Very poor: 1-2

In this article, we'll go into detail about the difference between the Zurich ZR13, the ZR8, and the ZR11
Want a full comparison of the Zurich ZR13, the ZR8, and the ZR11? This is the right place

Zurich ZR13 Vs. Zurich ZR8 Vs. ZR11: Key things in common

Three things in common between Zurich ZR13, Zurich ZR8, And ZR11.
Three things in common between Zurich ZR13, Zurich ZR8, and ZR11.

The exterior design of the Zurich ZR13, ZR8, and ZR11 are similar. They’re all hand-held OBD2 scanners with an ergonomic design. All three also use a similar navigation panel with a wheel design. The hotkeys on the interface give quick access to the most-used features, but it’s streamlined and straightforward enough that it’s easy to use.

All of these Zurich diagnostic scanners also have a Smog status indicator under the display screen. This helps test your emissions before an inspection, indicating at a glance whether you’re good to go or have issues to fix.

Zurich ZR13 Vs. Zurich ZR8 Vs. ZR11: Key differences

Key differences between Zurich ZR13, Zurich ZR8, and ZR11.
Key differences between Zurich ZR13, Zurich ZR8, and ZR11.

Design And Specification

The Zurich ZR8 is powered by your vehicle’s engine and doesn’t require a battery to operate. This is partially true of the ZR11 and ZR13 and that they can conduct diagnostics using the power from the engine. They do take batteries, though, which provides power to the LED light on the OBD connector. This is a helpful feature, making it easier to locate hard to reach ports. 

Overall Features And Functions

You’ll get access to all ten modes of the OBD2 diagnostic system using the Zurich ZR8. This includes reading and clearing trouble code, seeing live data from 15 engine monitors, and viewing freeze frame data. The 2.8” color display shows up to 20 data points at once and can graph live data along with showing you the text.

Zurich ZR8

epsoak epsom salt 5 lb

Rating

The Zurich ZR11 also supports full OBD2 diagnostics, and it lets you do even more with the data. Along with graphic capability, it enables you to record live data to playback later. The ability to log performance data makes it easier to spot potential problems before they happen and can also be useful if you need to consult a mechanic.

Zurich ZR11

epsoak epsom salt 5 lb

Rating

With the Zurich ZR13, they add FixAssist to the data reading and logging capabilities of the above models. It doesn’t just show you the code but also suggests possible solutions based on your specific vehicle. Because of that, it’s an excellent choice for beginners who want to try their hand at home repairs.

Zurich ZR13

epsoak epsom salt 5 lb

Rating

Both the Zurich ZR11 and ZR13 also allow you to customize the display, so it only shows the specific PIDs you want to see. As impressive as the 20 simultaneous data points are, being able to limit what you see is nice when you’re trying to hone in on a specific issue. 

Extra Features/Functions

The Zurich ZR8, ZR11, and ZR13 all have a charging system test function that can diagnose starting issues and tell you if it’s time to replace the battery or if the problem is with the alternator. With the Zurich ZR8 and ZR13, you can also reset the battery monitor system after replacing the battery, a function that’s not supported on the ZR11.   

You’ll get a couple of other non-OBD2 functions from the Zurich ZR8 and ZR13. They can both reset the oil light after maintenance or repairs. Additionally, they can read and clear trouble codes from the anti-lock brake system (ABS), provided your vehicle is one of those supported. 

The Zurich ZR13 is the most robust in terms of the features it offers. Along with the oil light reset, it provides a diagnosis of ABS and SRS (airbag system) trouble codes. That gives you the power to turn off any warning light on your dash.

Supported Protocols

The Zurich ZR13, ZR8 support all five standard OBD2 protocols, and ZR11, including J1850 PWM, J1850 VPW, ISO9141-2, KWP 2000, and ISO15765, along with CAN networks.

Supported Vehicle Makes

The Zurich ZR13, ZR8, and ZR11 are all compatible with any OBD2-compliant vehicle. They’ll work with all passenger vehicles sold in the US with the model year of 1996 or later, including cars, light trucks, SUVs, and even hybrids.

One thing to note is that these Zurich scanners aren’t the best tools for use with the most recent model years. Coverage may be limited for up to 12 to 24 months after the initial release.

When it comes to diagnosing non-OBD2 systems, the compatibility is more limited. The Zurich ZR8 can retrieve ABS codes from 22 domestic manufacturers. You’ll get more comprehensive ABS support from the ZR11, including 35 manufacturers from the US, Europe, and Asia. Those same 35 manufacturers are supported for SRS and ABS diagnosis using the Zurich ZR13.

Zurich ZR13

Rating

Zurich ZR8

Rating

Zurich ZR11

Rating

Software And Updates

All three of these scan tools use plug-and-play software that’s ready to go right out of the box. When you plug it into your vehicle’s OBD2 port, the device will automatically link to the computer and read all available data without the need for you to fiddle with the settings. 

We also found the software experience to be much the same across these three scanners. They’re all responsive, with relatively fast data reading and no noticeable lag when navigating through the menus, so you don’t need to worry about a drop in accuracy or data quality with the more affordable ZR8.

Updating the Zurich ZR13, ZR8, or ZR13 is free for life and is an easy process through the company’s website. Start by installing the ODB Updater on your PC. You can then use this to check if the tool’s firmware is up to date and download any updates that you do need. 

One thing to note is that you’ll need a Windows-based PC to download the OBD Updater. This may be an issue for Mac users, especially those who need compatibility with the newest model years. You don’t need to update the tool to use it, though, so it will still function even if you skip a few updates. 

Warranty Guarantee And Support Information

Zurich scan tools go with a 90-day limited warranty. If the scanner shows up damaged or stops working within three months of the day you bought it, send it back to the company along with proof of your purchase and they’ll either repair the issue or send you a replacement unit.

The manual included with the Zurich ZR13, ZR11, and ZR8 are all robust and detailed in explaining the tool’s use. You can scope them out below (or download it if you lose yours down the line).

If you have questions even after reviewing the manual, you can contact Harbor Freight support. Their technical helpline is 1-888-866-5797, and they’re relatively quick to answer and address customer complaints and issues.

Zurich ZR13

Rating

Zurich ZR8

Rating

Zurich ZR11

Rating

Pros and Cons of Zurich ZR13

Pros

  • Has the most functions.
  • Provides more information than a basic code reader, hence the ability to repair more systems.

Cons

  • Can only be updated using a Windows-based computer.
  • Compatibility of non-OBD2 functions is limited to select manufacturers.

Pros and Cons of Zurich ZR8

Pros

  • Great value.
  • ABS diagnosis.
  • Oil light reset.

Cons

  • Can only be updated using a Windows-based computer.
  • Interface can be a bit overwhelming with all 20 data points on the screen and can’t be customized.

Pros and Cons of Zurich ZR11

Pros

  • Offers expanded functions like battery reset and data recording.
  • Illuminated OBD adapter makes it easier to plug in your diagnostic tool.

Cons

  • Can only be updated using a Windows-based computer.
  • Compatibility of non-OBD2 functions is limited to select manufacturers.

User Manual Download

Zurich ZR13 user manual

Zurich ZR8 user manual

Zurich ZR11 user manual

Recommendation 

Zurich ZR13
Zurich ZR13 OBD2 Code Reader
3.8
It’s an excellent option for home mechanics. you’ll get access to an additional system and the use of FixAssist, which can save you a lot of time when making home diagnoses.

The Zurich ZR13 is an excellent option for home mechanics. While it does cost more than the other scanners, it retails for less than $200, so it’s not a huge investment. For that extra cost, you’ll get access to an additional system and the use of FixAssist, which can save you a lot of time when making home diagnoses.

Zurich ZR11
Zurich ZR11 OBD2 Code Reader
4.1
It’s an excellent middle-ground option. Its main advantage for a home mechanic over the more affordable ZR8 is reset the battery system. Replacing your battery is a simple repair even everyday drivers can make at home, so you’ll save yourself the expense of a mechanic thanks to this feature.

The Zurich ZR11 is an excellent middle-ground option. Its main advantage for a home mechanic over the more affordable ZR8 is reset the battery system. Replacing your battery is a simple repair even everyday drivers can make at home, so you’ll save yourself the expense of a mechanic thanks to this feature. 

Zurich ZR8
ZR8 OBD2 Code Reader
4.1
It’s ideal for everyday drivers who want more knowledge about their engines. It’s a perfect tool for finding out why the check engine light is on and lets you turn it off after repairs are made.

We recommend the Zurich ZR8 to everyday drivers who want more knowledge about their engines. It’s a perfect tool for finding out why the check engine light is on and lets you turn it off after repairs are made. You can use it for some home maintenance, too, including changing your oil.

Read more: Zurich ZR Pro vs. Autel MS906BT vs. Launch X431 V+: Which suits a professional mechanic?

FAQs

How can I tell which features are supported for my vehicle?

There’s a list of vehicles that support oil reset, ABS, and SRS functions in the user manuals for each model. Use the links above to check if your car is on the list.  

Will the ZR8, ZR11, or ZR13 perform ABS bleeding?

Unfortunately, no. Bi-directional control is required for a scan tool to perform automatic cycling and bleeding of the brakes, and any of these scan tools doesn’t offer that function. Their ABS support is limited to reading and clearing codes only. 

Can these Zurich scanners be used with diesel engines?

Yes, provided they use the OBD2 diagnostic system. Some heavy trucks with diesel engines aren’t required by law to include OBD2 protocols and may need a specialized code reader. Check your vehicle’s manual if you’re not sure whether or not it supports OBD2. 

Will these scan tools work with vehicles from Europe and Asia?

If the vehicles were manufactured to be sold in the United States, you’d at least be able to run OBD2 diagnostic tests using the ZR8 and may be able to also diagnose ABS or SRS codes with the SR11 or SR13. Vehicles manufactured to be sold in Europe or Japan may use a different diagnostic protocol (EOBD and JOBD, respectively), making them incompatible with these scanners. 

How do I use these tools to turn off the check engine light?

Start by locating the OBD port in your vehicle. This is typically on the steering column or around the dash on the interior driver side. Next, plug the scan tool into the port. You can quickly read all trouble codes by pressing the DTC hotkey (blue text) or erase them with the red eraser hotkey.

Keep in mind the check engine light won’t stay off until the problem that triggered it has been fixed. If the light won’t turn off or keeps turning back on, reread the DTCs, and review them to identify the problem. Once you’ve made the necessary repairs, the light will turn off once you clear the codes.

Read More: 9 Best OBD2 Scanners with ABS SRS 2021 Review