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Innova 6100P review

The Innova 6100p has the power to help make an amateur mechanic feel more like a professional

Innova 6100P
Editor's Choice
(Image: © Innova)

Tom's Guide Verdict

A crossover OBD scanner that runs as a handheld unit while also connecting to Innova’s app, the Innova 6100P has a great variety of diagnostic abilities, can suggest repairs and even line up the parts you’ll need.

Pros

  • +

    Small and light

  • +

    Battery tests and oil light reset

  • +

    Handheld with add-on app

  • +

    Includes repair instructions and parts options

Cons

  • -

    Text-based interface

  • -

    Keys require purposeful pressure

Innova 6100P: Specs

Size: 7.2 x 3.4 x 1.1 inches
Weight: 6.5 ounces
Live data: Yes
Display type and size: Color, 2.8 inches
Number of keys: 9
Bluetooth & app: Yes
Handheld: Yes
Warranty: 1 year

With the ability to run as a capable handheld OBD scanner as well as connected to a mobile app, the Innova 6100P can do things reserved for more expensive devices. In addition to resetting the change oil light and checking the car’s charging system, the app can suggest what repairs are needed and show what parts to get. At $190 it is everything a DIY scanner should be – and more.

Innova 6100P: Pricing and availability

Innova makes dozens of different OBD scanners starting with minimalist $30 units all the way to $600 professional models. The $190 Innova 6100P is right in the middle of its lineup.  

Innova 6100P: Design

The blue and black Innova 6100P is one of the smallest full-function OBD scanners available. Its 7.2 x 3.4 x 1.1 inch case even has a comfy cutout for your fingers to rest on. Slightly smaller than Innova’s less capable 5310 model, it looks tiny next to the SeekOne SK860. At 6.5 ounces, it is not only easy to carry and won’t weigh your toolbox down, but is 50 percent lighter than the 5310 model.

Innova 6100P menu screen

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Like many other vertically oriented OBD scanners, the Innova 6100P has a 2.8-inch color screen. It can’t come close to the 3.5-inch display on the ThinkScan 609 but squeezes a lot of information onto the available space. There are also LEDs that show the results of an I/M Readiness test: green means pass, while yellow indicates a pending fault and red is for a permanent fault.

The nine button interface is efficient but the keys require deliberate pressure to actuate. The 6100P has dedicated buttons for checking fault codes, the system’s status and accessing live data as well as for erasing fault codes.

While it works well as a handheld OBD scanner with its integrated screen, the 6100P can also connect over Bluetooth with a phone or tablet using the company’s Repair Solutions 2 apps; there’s software for iPhones and iPads as well as Android phones and tablets. The apps not only show the same data as the handheld’s screen, but also added technical service bulletins, how severe a problem might be and an innovative predictive failure analysis.

(Image credit: Innova)

Driveway mechanics will love it because Repair Solutions 2 includes help with repairs, as well as links to what parts might be needed alongside their price. The free service is something that other consumer OBD scanner companies don’t provide. 

Innova 6100P: Setup

Setting up the Innova 6100P was more involved than most handheld scanners. After plugging the cable into my 2014 Audi A4 AllRoad’s OBD port, the screen then showed the Innova logo. Its 72-inch cable was perfect for working in the engine bay while remaining connected.

In addition, the scanner has a mini USB port at the device’s bottom for updating its firmware and connecting to a printer but without battery power, it needs to remain connected to the car to stay alive. The scanner does without the ThinkScan 609’s flash storage slot and card.

After loading the Repair Solutions 2 app on my Galaxy Note 20 phone, I connected the car and phone using Bluetooth. It took an extra two minutes and was worth the effort.

Innova 6100P menu screen

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The 6100P doesn’t include much in the package beyond the scanner and its connection cable. The device has a one-year warranty and there’s a treasure trove of support information online, including a downloadable 100-page manual that is one of the best in the business. There are videos of over 100 repairs. 

When I needed a question answered, I emailed the Irvine, CA-based company but could just as easily use its online chat feature or the toll-free phone number. The company staffs its tech support office Monday through Saturday from 9AM to 9PM (eastern time). 

Innova 6100P: Performance

After it was connected to my car the 6100P immediately fired up and responded after I disconnected the oil temperature sensor. Later, it allowed me to turn off the Check Engine light. At this point, I went through the car’s fault codes and ran a pre-inspection I/M Readiness test; it showed a green light.

(Image credit: Innova)

While it can check on the oxygen sensor and other aspects of the car, the Innova 6100P lacks the 5310’s ability to run a cylinder balance test, a key indicator for future engine problems. It can check on the alternator and battery but does so through the car’s computer rather than a direct connection to the battery as the Konwei KW681 does. It can reset the Change Oil light.

(Image credit: Innova)

The Innova 6100P excelled when I connected it to my Samsung Galaxy Note 20 phone and the Repair Solutions 2 app. It had a 30-foot Bluetooth range with my Samsung Galaxy Note 20 phone and took a couple minutes to scan the car. The app not only reported that I was coming up on the car’s 65,000 mile service interval but listed the items needed to complete it; it even suggested I replace the oil separator before it fails.

Innova 6100P: Verdict

By combining the best attributes of handheld and Bluetooth OBD scanners, the Innova 6100P can not only find what’s wrong with your car, but the Repair Solutions 2 app can help you fix the problem and get an idea of what parts are needed. The Innova 6100p has the power to help make an amateur mechanic feel more like a professional. 

Brian Nadel is a freelance writer and editor who specializes in technology reporting and reviewing. He works out of the suburban New York City area and has covered topics from nuclear power plants and Wi-Fi routers to cars and tablets. The former editor-in-chief of Mobile Computing and Communications, Nadel is the recipient of the TransPacific Writing Award.