Engine Code Reader: Top 10 Picks Review 2019

An engine code reader is a device that reads and erases engine trouble codes. It’s a scanner that offers basic functionalities and can be a good companion for beginners who want to save money and solve minor car issues on their own.

Let’s have a look at the ten best engine code readers:

Best Engine Code Reader Reviews

1
Autel AutoLink AL319 OBD2 Automotive Engine Code Reader

Autel AutoLink AL319
Autel AutoLink AL319 OBD2 Automotive Engine Code Reader
4.44.4 / 5
Autel AL319 is a good engine diagnostic tool for beginners. It’s easy to use and works quite well as well.

Autel AL319 is among the best engine code readers. It can help diagnose minor faults in the engine and can be a perfect fit for beginners.

This engine scanner may not offer advanced features, but it’s straightforward to use thanks to its plug-and-play function.

Autel AL319 is corded, but the cord is long enough, making it easy to use the device.

Special Features

Basic Features

This check engine light scanner can read engine codes and also explain the error.

You can record data using freeze frame option and check the readiness of the vehicle using I/M readiness feature.

This scanner shows live data and also supports the VIN option (auto detect vehicle information). You will not have to worry about having to manually enter vehicle details as the scanner can recognize cars and pick up information.

Autel Autolink Al319 is one of the best engine code readers.
Autel Autolink AL319 helps to read codes and vehicle information.
Credit: Amazon.com
Ease Of Use

This engine scan tool has a TFT color screen which shows a sharp display, making it easy to read text and information. It also has a built-in speaker that executes beeps and sounds when it diagnosis a fault.

One of its biggest strengths is the DTC library is it contains definitions of different codes. These explanations are reliable and reduce the need to search the web.

Update

Updating the tool is free as Autel offers lifetime free updates available through the official site.

Vehicle Coverage

Autel AL319 supports all 1996 and newer OBD2 and CAN vehicles.

Pros

  • 1-year warranty.
  • Free updates for lifetime.
  • Diagnostic codes are differentiated with LED lights.
  • The cable is almost 5 feet long.
  • Supports both generic and manufacturer based codes.

Cons

  • Might need a TF card reader to update.
  • Doesn’t support ABS, SRS.

Who Should Take It?

Autel AL319 is a good engine diagnostic tool for beginners. It’s easy to use and works quite well as well.

The video about Autel Autolink AL319 review: 

2
BAFX Products Bluetooth OBD2 Check Engine Light Reader (for iOS Devices)

BAFX
BAFX Products Bluetooth OBD2 Check Engine Light Reader (for iOS Devices)
4.44.4 / 5
The BAFX Products is a check engine light reader that can diagnose problems in your vehicle’s engine and display results accurately.People who want to diagnose small problems with a scanner that can be operated on an iPhone or iOS tablet.

BAFX is a check engine light reader that can diagnose problems in your vehicle’s engine and display results accurately. Moreover, due to its ability to connect via WiFi, this scanner can be controlled from any iOS device with the use of a 3rd party app.

Special Features

Real-Time Diagnosis

BAFX is among the fastest engine scan tools. It can help detect issues related to the engine, sensors, and overheating in real-time.

All the real-time data is displayed in an easy to understand graph form.

BAFX is one of the best engine code readers
BAFX with many features such as fuel pressure diagnosis, coolant temp and so on can help you diagnose your car accurately.
Credit: Amazon.com
Basic Features

This check engine code reader offers many beginner obd2 features such as fuel pressure diagnosis, coolant temp, engine temp, and oil temp.

It can read check engine light codes to give you an idea where the fault is. You can Google it if you can’t comprehend it.

The scanner is also capable of performing O2 sensor test, emission test, and check DPF temperature.

Vehicle Coverage

BAFX is an engine scanner which can be operated from any iOS device using the WiFi. As for compatibility, it supports all 1996 and newer OBDII compliant models including hybrid cars.

Moreover, it is also compatible with some vehicles outside of the US. It also supports all OBDII protocols including CAN & J1850 protocols as well.

Pros

  • The sensor fresh is quick.
  • Covers a range of 20 feet.
  • 2-year warranty.
  • Can read real-time data.
  • Data is very easy to understand.

Cons

  • Lack of advanced features (ABS, SRS).
  • The WiFi in the phone cannot be used for surfing when the app is connected.

Who Is It Built For?

People who want to diagnose small problems with a scanner that can be operated on an iPhone or iOS tablet.

The video about BAFX review:

3
FOXWELL NT201 Auto OBD2 Check Engine Code Reader

FOXWELL NT201
FOXWELL NT201 Auto OBD2 Check Engine Code Reader
4.34.3 / 5
FOXWELL NT201 is an excellent engine code reader that offers a multitude of basic functionalities. Beginners who want to find and solve minor problems in their car can go for this engine code reader.

FOXWELL NT201 is an excellent engine code reader that offers a multitude of basic functionalities.

It is one of the few scanners that not only supports obd2 vehicles but EOBD, JOBD and CAN cars as well.

Special Features

This engine scanner can read engine codes and erase them once the problem is fixed. Furthermore, it can check the I/M readiness status, show real-time data as you drive the vehicle.

Basic Features: Besides reading check engine light codes, you can perform smog test, O2 sensor test, EVAP test and even record information with freeze frame feature.

FOXWELL NT201 is one of the best engine code readers
FOXWELL NT201 with outstanding features is one of the best choices for you.
Credit: Amazon.com

DTC: The scanner has a built-in DTC library which shows code explanations so that you can easily understand what a code means. The definitions are easy to understand and quite reliable.

Physical Features: The device has a built-in speaker and a screen that makes it easy to read codes as it’s quite bright and big.

Update

Visit the FOXWELL website and install NT Wonder on your computer. Connect the scanner to the computer with the USB cable and run the installed software to update.

Vehicle Coverage

FOXWELL NT201 supports all OBD2, EOBD, JOBD, and CAN vehicles that are OBDII compliant and manufactured in 1996 or later.

Pros

  • 3-year warranty.
  • The scanner is dust resistant.
  • Lifetime free upgrades.
  • Supports TCM (transmission).

Cons

  • Doesn’t read CMP.
  • BMW cars are not supported

Who Is It Built For?

Beginners who want to find and solve minor problems in their car can go for this engine code reader.

The video about review of FOXWELL NT201:

4
AstroAI OS320 OBD II Auto Check Engine Diagnostic Tool

AstroAI OS320
AstroAI OS320 OBD II Auto Check Engine Diagnostic Tool
4.74.7 / 5
People who want to solve simple issues such as turn off CEL, freeze frame, show live data, etc., can get AstroAl OS320.

AstroAI is among the fastest engine code readers. It is quick to diagnose problems and show results. With this beauty, you will not have to wait hours to clear codes.

Special Features

LED System: The scanner has an LED system that makes it easy to understand codes. There are 3 LED lights:
– Red light (No problem found)
– Yellow light (Pending code)
– Green light (Fault detected)

Lightning Fast: This engine scan tool can diagnose misfires, fuel system errors, and similar problems in 5 seconds. It doesn’t only pass a trouble code but also shows explanations for code due to its rich DTC library.

DTC Lookup: You will not have to worry about having to read or understand codes as the scanner has an impressive built-in library that presents you with detailed explanations of error codes.

Basic Features: Besides reading CEL, it offers freeze frame data, live PCM data stream, onboard monitoring as well among other basic features.

Moreover, the scanner has a simple user interface which is perfect for beginners. It has four buttons that make it a breeze to navigate.

Update

The company releases regular updates that be downloaded for free (lifetime) into the computer from the official website. You can connect the scanner to your computer to install these updates.

AstroAI OS320 is one of the best engine code readers

AstroAI OS320 works on most gasoline vehicles sold in the USA since 1996
Credit: Amazon.com

Vehicle Coverage

It supports many brands including US, European, and Asian vehicles which are 1996 or newer models and OBDII compliant.

Pros

  • 3-year warranty.
  • The scanner shows live engine performance as you drive.
  • Long cable – 3.18 feet.
  • It supports 12V gasoline cars as well.
  • No lags when switching between screens and navigating the menu.

Cons

  • Diesel cars are not supported.
  • The font on the screen is tiny and can be hard to read.

Who Is It For?

People who want to solve simple issues such as turn off CEL, freeze frame, show live data, etc., can get this engine scanner.

5
Autophix OM126 OBDII Check Engine Light Scanner

Autophix OM126
Autophix OM126 OBDII Check Engine Light Scanner
4.44.4 / 5
Autophix OM126 is the engine scan tool for beginners who want an obd2 scanner that easily fits in the palm of their hands and offers many basic obd2 features.

If you want an engine code reader that performs a variety of functions, then consider Autophix OM126.

It offers many essential features, lets you print data, and is free to update.

Special Features

Basic Features: This engine scan tool lets you check engine codes, check and turn off MIL, see vehicle information, adjust the air-fuel mixture, and perform I/M readiness tests.

Moreover, it also gives detailed explanations that make it easy to understand codes. Other than this, it can perform O2 sensor test, Evap test and onboard monitor test.

AUTOPHIX OM126 is one of the best engine code readers
AUTOPHIX OM126 supports 14 modes of OBDII test for a complete diagnosis.
Credit: Amazon.com

Physical Features: It’s one of the most durable scanners on the market and has been tested to handle a 10-feet drop.

It comes with a 2.5 feet long cord and a 2.4” TFT screen that makes it easy to read data.

Live Data: The scanner displays live and current data. There’s no lag, and the information is also quite reliable.

Update

You can update the software for free. Visit the official website to find and download new updates.

Vehicle Coverage

This scanner supports all 1996 and newer US models that are obd2 compliant. It also supports 2000 EU based and 2006 Asian based vehicles.

Pros

  • 3-year warranty.
  • 8000 built-in definitions.
  • Compact size that fits in the palm.
  • LED indications for emission and smog test.
  • Prints data via PC.

Cons

  • Short cord (2.5 feet).

Who Is It For?

Beginners who want an obd2 scanner that easily fits in the palm of their hands and offers many basic obd2 features can get this engine scan tool.

6
ANCEL AD310 Universal OBD II Engine Code Reader

ANCEL AD310
ANCEL AD310 Classic Enhanced Universal OBD II Car Engine Fault Code Reader
4.44.4 / 5
The ANCEL AD310 is the engine fault code reader suitable for beginner and DIYers who want to carry out simple diagnostics.

ANCEL AD310 can be a good choice for beginners as it’s a plug-and-play device that makes it easy to get started.

This engine diagnostic tool can check engine light codes and offers a bunch of other features too.

Special Features

Basic Functions: This engine code reader can check and turn off CEL. It can also run the emission test and monitor vehicle’s performance using the I/M Monitor Readiness Test.

It also supports the smog test and lets you record data using the freeze frame option.

Physical Features: The scanner is compact and easy to hold despite its large screen. It has four buttons that make it easy to use the device.

ANCEL AD310 is one of the best engine code readers
ANCEL AD310 can diagnose the code directly without searching online.
Credit: Amazon.com

Vehicle Coverage

ANCEL AD310 supports 1996 and newer US models that are OBDII compliant. Additionally, it also supports 2000-European and Asian vehicles.

Pros


● 3-year warranty.
● Shows live data.
● Charges directly from the OBD2 connector.
● Large LCD
● 2.5 feet cable is insulated.

Cons


● The display freezes sometimes, and the device needs to be reset.
● Connection error in many brands (Nissan, VW, Ford, Subaru).
● Must be 16 PIN OBD II protocol.

Who Is It Built For?

This engine fault code reader is suitable for beginner and DIYers who want to carry out simple diagnostics.

The video about Ancel AD310 review:

7
Launch X431 Creader 3001 Check Engine Light Code Reader

Launch X431 Creader 3001
Launch Creader 3001 Check Engine Light Code Reader
4.44.4 / 5
The Launch X431 Creader 3001 can be a good engine scan tool for users who are just getting to know their car.

Launch Creader 3001 can be your go-to engine code reader for some reasons. It works efficiently and can remove engine trouble codes in no time.

Special Features

DTC: The scanner has its own DTC library that can help you understand a trouble code. With this feature, you will not have to Google what a code means.

Basic Features: The scanner can read and clear engine-related codes. It can also perform several tests such as O2 sensor test, EVAP test, and onboard monitor test.

Easy To Use: Since this engine scan tool is a plug and play device, it’s a plus for beginner car owners. There are no complicated features, and it takes just a few seconds to get started.

All you need to do is plug the device, run the diagnosis, and the scanner will display trouble codes if there’s a problem with your vehicle.

Launch X431 Creader 3001 is one of the best engine scanner
Launch X431 Creader 3001 can scan and clear errors .
Credit: Amazon.com

However, it offers some complex features, too, which you can use if you have the required knowledge. The scanner can also help find leaks in the fuel tank and diagnose temperature issues.

Live Data: The scanner displays live data as you drive your vehicle. With this feature, you can find problems on the spot.

Physical Features: It’s a compact scanner and highly portable as well. You can leave it plugged in as well. It’s also light in weight and easy to navigate due to four perfectly placed buttons.

Vehicle Coverage

This scanner supports all 1996 and newer car models which have an obd2 system.

It also supports the five major OBD2 protocols.

Pros


● Two-year warranty.
● 100% money back guarantee for 90 days.
● It can check the fuel system for problems.
● It supports both OBDI and OBDII cars. However, you need to buy obd1 cable if the vehicle is old.
● The cable is 2.5 feet and adequately insulated.

Cons


● Doesn’t support JOBD cars.
● Doesn’t offer ABS, SRS codes.

Who Is It For?

The Launch Creader 3001 can be a good engine scan tool for users who are just getting to know their car.

8
TT Topdon AL200 Check Engine Code Reader

TT Topdon AL200
TT Topdon AL200 Check Engine Code Reader
4.64.6 / 5
TT Topdon AL200 is ideal for beginners who want to perform basic features such as turn off engine light and perform a few tests such as O2 test and Evap test.

With its ability to check engine light and turn of MIL, TT Topdon Al200 can be an excellent check engine light scanner.

Special Features

  • Turn Off CEL: With this scanner, you cannot only read the engine code error but also erase it after the error is fixed.
  • I/M Readiness: You can see the status of emissions related monitors using this feature.
  • Freeze Frame: With this functionality, you can record information from the ECU. It helps to find out emission related faults and solve them.
TT Topdon AL200 is one of the best engine code readers
TT Topdon AL200 can read freeze frame data.
Credit: Amazon.com

Vehicle Coverage

This scanner supports all 1996 and newer US models, 2000 and newer European models, and a few gasoline vehicles as well. They must, however, be OBDII compliant.

Pros


● Auto Vin feature makes it easy to connect the device.
● The handheld design makes it easy to hold.
● Supports BMW vehicles, too.
● Offers fast diagnosis.

Cons


● No advanced features.

Who Is It Built For?

This scanner is ideal for beginners who want to perform basic features such as turn off engine light and perform a few tests such as O2 test and Evap test.

9
Autel AL519 OBD-ll Engine Diagnostic Tool with Mode 6

Autel AL519
Autel AL519 OBD-ll Engine Diagnostic Tool with Mode 6
4.54.5 / 5
This engine code reader is meant for beginners, DIYers, and enthusiasts with reading both manufacturer and generic codes ability.

If you’re in search of an engine code reader that can offer more than engine trouble code reading, then Autel AL519 can be a good choice.
It not only helps read codes but can request information from various components.

Special Features

Basic Features: This engine code reader can help turn off engine light after the issue is resolved. It can also record information using freeze frame so you can share data with others. You can also perform emission testing with I/M readiness option.

10 Modes: This scanner supports all ten obd2 test modes. You’ll be able to utilize the DTC library, see live data, perform o2 sensor test, onboard monitoring and request vehicle information as well.

The scanner also lets you test components bidirectionally.

Autel AL519 is one of the best engine scanner
Autel AL519 makes reading car error codes easier.
Credit: Amazon.com

Vehicle Coverage

This scanner supports almost all domestic and foreign 1996 and newer vehicles that are OBDII & CAN compatible.

Pros


● Extremely long cord – 6 feet.
● Shows real-time graph data.
● It takes only 10 seconds to boot.
● No lagging or freezing.
● Offers tips to troubleshoot codes.

Cons


● Notifications stay for 3 seconds only.
● Registration can be an issue/doesn’t update.

Who Is It Built For?

This engine code reader is meant for beginners, DIYers, and enthusiasts. It can read both manufacturer and generic codes.

The video about Autel AL519 review:

10
TryAce SR950 Check Engine Light Code Reader with O2 Test

TryAce SR950
TryAce SR950 Check Engine Light Code Reader with O2 Test
4.44.4 / 5
TryAce SR950 is a good choice of car owners who want to look for a durable obd2 basic code reader with a variety of features.

If you want an obd2 scanner that can help find minor faults in your car then bring home TryAce SR950.

It has a solid body that is anti-slip and shockproof, making it a durable choice.

Special Features

  • Basic Features: It supports all basic obd2 features including CEL, smog test, freeze frame, live data, DTC, O2/EVAP/Onboard test, and turn off MIL.
  • Physical Features: It has a 2.8” LCD screen which shows a sharp display. Moreover, the scanner is shockproof and slip-proof as well.
  • DTC Lookup: The scanner shows codes and their explanation thanks to the DTC lookup feature.
TryAce SR950 is one of the best engine code readers
TryAce SR950 has a lot of functions you can consider.
Credit: Amazon.com

Update

The software is free to update and can be done from the official website.
However, it does not work well on MACs.

Vehicle Coverage

It supports all OBD2 and CAN vehicles that are manufactured in 1996 or later.

Pros


● 5 feet long cable.
● Supports mode 6 and mode 8.
● Audio feedback capability.
● Shows accurate and fast results.
● Reads dynamic data stream.

Cons


● The scanner uses abbreviations which can be confusing for beginners.

Who Is It For?

Car owners looking for a durable obd2 basic code reader can get this engine code reader.

Engine Code Reader: Editor’s Top 3 Picks Comparison Chart

Autel AutoLink AL319 Review
Autel AL319 Engine Code Reader
BAFX Review
BAFX Products Engine Light Reader
FOXWELL NT201 Review
FOXWELL NT201 CEL Code Reader
Customer Rating
4.44.4 / 5
4.44.4 / 5
4.34.3 / 5
Price RangeAutel AutoLink AL319 priceBAFX Products priceFOXWELL NT201  price
Weight1 pounds2.4 ounces10.4 ounces
Engine Light Reset
Emission test
Live data
Freeze frame
O2 sensor test
DTC Look Up
EVAP test

Recommendation

If you’re a beginner then we’d recommend Autel AutoLink AL319. This scanner can offer many basic features, however, it doesn’t support the O2 sensor test and Evap test.

For people who want to diagnose minor faults and perform a wide variety of tests such as O2 and EVAP test can get FOXWELL NT201.

Lastly, if you want an engine code reader with Bluetooth connection, then go for BAFX Products.

Engine Code Reader FAQS

●    What could cause the check engine light to come on?

There could be many reasons for the engine light to come on. These include engine misfires, loose gas cap, bad catalytic converter, poor emission, etc. In simple words, the engine light comes on whenever there’s a problem in any of the components.

●    Can check engine light turn itself off?

In some cases, restarting the car may cause the light to go off. However, in most cases, it doesn’t go away by itself, and you will need to solve the issue to clear the engine light.

●    Can you drive a car with the check engine light on?

You can, but it is not recommended because an integral component inside the vehicle might have malfunctioned. It could be dangerous to drive under such conditions.

●    Can a car pass inspection with the check engine light on?

No, you will fail the test in most states if the check engine light is on.

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