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Best Microchip Scanners for 2022

Thousands of pets go missing in the UK every year, causing owners to fret, worry and suffer more heartbreak than you could possibly imagine.

In recent years though, the ever-faithful pet microchip has played a huge part in reuniting lost loved ones with their doting owners and in the UK 75% of all lost dogs and 45% of lost cats are returned to their homes thanks to their microchips.

But crucially, pets still won’t be found unless somebody scans them. Microchip scanners are used by rescue centres but if you regularly come by stray cats where you live, it is also a great item to have to hand and cuts out the need to go to the vet with your rescue.

But you may also want to have one to hand for peace of mind to check your pet’s microchip regularly and ensure it hasn’t moved and still matches up with the records held by the microchip company.

So to help you find a perfectly portable scanner with advanced technology and insights, we’ve scoured the market to find the very best pet ID finders on the market!

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    Our Top Picks

    Image Product Details
    Halo Microchip Scanner
    • Fully rechargeable
    • Can scan up to a 120cm radius
    • Ergonomic design
    Check Price
    Smoostart Pet Microchip Scanner
    • OLED display screen visible in sunlight
    • Recharge on the go
    • Portable and lightweight
    Check Price
    Sonew RFID Chip Reader Scanner
    • Save up to 100 tags
    • Rechargeable battery
    • OLED screen
    Check Price

    The Top Pet Microchip Scanners Reviewed

    1.
    Halo Microchip Scanner

    The most innovative scanner on the market, Halo’s revolutionary chip reader is the ideal aid for finding lost animals and comes with software designed to turn you from a concerned animal lover into a successful dog and cat detective.

    In a lightweight steering wheel design that fits perfectly in your grip, it’s perfect for travel and fully rechargeable thanks to a USB port. Yet don’t expect to have to use this much, as with a stand by time of 6 months, it almost never needs recharging!

    Best of all though is that the scanner is compatible with the computer software Scanner Angel, a database designed to keep track of missing animals. This means missing animal data can be stored onto your device at all times so that if your scanner ever takes a reading from an animal registered as lost the Halo will automatically alert you that it needs rescuing.

    This helps remove all hesitation and uncertainty from an encounter with a lost animal, as you’ll always be able to know for certain whether they need help or not.

    It’s the scanner we use personally and can vouch that it never lets us down. The fact it doesn’t need regular charging is ideal for emergencies and it is much more comfortable to hold than many of the others we reviewed.

    Features

    • Fully rechargeable
    • Can scan up to a 120cm radius
    • Ergonomic design

    Specifications

    • Weight: 100 g
    • Dimensions: 13.8 x 13.6 x 4.4 cm
    • Chips Read: FDX-A, FDX-B, EM4102

    2.
    Dioche Animal ID Reader

    An all-round excellent ID reader for livestock management or pet identification, this low consumption and convenient microchip reader from Dioche is fantastic for picking up readings from any ISO standard chip.

    Charged by USB, it features a buzzer alert to let you know when a chip has been found and an easy to understand LCD display screen which shows all information in real-time. Simply scan an animal to either reveal a unique digit code or receive a read error if one can’t be found. It’s that easy!

    Stable, safe and reliable it has a low 134.2 frequency and can take readings from a distance of 15cm in as little as a second, making this as fast and faithful a device as you could ever hope for!

    Features

    • Built-in buzzer alert
    • USB recharging
    • Convenient portable size

    Specifications

    • Weight: 150 g
    • Dimensions: 16.2 x 17 x 3.1 cm
    • Chips Read: ISO 11784/85 Chips

    3.
    Sonew Microchip Reader RFID 134.2KHz

    An incredibly underrated mechanism for pet scanners is memory storage, a particularly important feature for those who work with livestock or in shelters, as you need to be able to scan and gain ID information of so many animals, often in quick succession.

    This ID reader from Sonew has the biggest memory of any other scanner on the market, holding onto an amazing 128 tags at once, allowing you to upload batches of unique ID information to a PC rather than just one ID code at a time.

    It’s no surprise then that this is a widely revered gadget in animal management circles where it is also praised for it’s OLED display screen which is readable and clear under strong light.

    Easy to use and charge, it’s one of the more reliable options out there!

    Features

    • Save up to 128 tags
    • Upload info via USB
    • OLED display screen

    Specifications

    • Weight: 200 g
    • Dimensions: 18 x 9 x 3.5 cm
    • Chips Read: FDX-B, EMID

    4.
    Bewinner Mini RFID Reader

    With reading compatibility for most 10 or 15 digit microchips, this chip scanner from Bewinner is also one of the few devices to boast detection of the increasingly popular ISO animal ear tag!

    An easy to operate handheld model, it’s by far one of the most portable options, with an uncomplicated one-button system and simple to understand backlit display screen.

    But one of our favourite features of Bewinner’s device is its internal historic data reader, which means you can easily navigate previous code readings if you ever need to double-check a past reading.

    A great option for battery snobs, Bewinner’s scanner also offers 5 hours of battery life and a handy built-in alarm to alert you whenever your machine is in need of a little charge – which is no hassle thanks to a USB interface.

    A no-nonsense scanner that gets the job done!

    Features

    • Easy one-button operation
    • 5-hour battery life
    • Low battery alarm

    Specifications

    • Weight: 119 g
    • Dimensions: 6 x 12 x 1.5 cm
    • Chips Read: FDX-B, ID64

    5.
    Smoostart Pet Microchip Scanner

    This scanner can hold its battery for up to a year, making it the ideal pick if you’re always on the go rescuing or checking for lost cats.

    There is a storage facility which can hold up to 128 previous bits of data in case you need to double check something, and when it does need recharging, there is a USB cable so it can be done on-the-go in a car as well as at home.

     

    Features

    • OLED display screen visible in sunlight
    • Recharge on the go
    • Portable and lightweight

    Specifications

    • Weight: 159 g
    • Dimensions: ‎18.72 x 12.01 x 3.3 cm
    • Chips Read: ISO11784(85)/FDX-B/EMID 10/15

    6.
    Sonew RFID Chip Reader Scanner

    Although easily the priciest microchip reader on this list, it’s no surprise this super pet scanner from Sonew is also by far the best model money can buy.

    Thanks to its almost universal reading capabilities of 134.2 and 125KHz chips it will pick up the majority of new and old chips including FDX-A, FDX-B, EM4102 and HDX models, ensuring almost every pet in town is up for discovery.

    But this isn’t just your basic chip reader either, as it’s also one of the only scanners to support seven languages and feature built-in Bluetooth technology, meaning you can link the scanner up to your phone to record and check missing code numbers on the go and quicker than ever before.

    With a memory of up to 100 tags, it’s a fantastic choice for those who work in pet identification roles as it always allows you to scan several animals at once and to complete missing checks on mass.

    But don’t worry if you’re averse to such advanced technology, as this Sonew creation can also perform the basic stuff too, with computer compatibility thanks to a USB port and one of the best LED display screens available featuring battery life and sunlight readability.

    Features

    • Save up to 100 tags
    • Rechargeable battery
    • OLED screen

    Specifications

    • Weight: 198 g
    • Dimensions: 15.5 x 8.2 x 3 cm
    • Chips Read: FDX-A, FDX-B (ISO11784/85), EM4102, HDX

    Buying Guide

    How we selected the best microchip scanners

    It is easy to think that if a microchip scanner scans a microchip, that is the job done. This is very true, but there are plenty of extras to look out for which will make your life easier.

    For example, as they’re all wireless and portable, you want one with a long battery life that won’t let you down if you forgot to charge it and need it in an emergency. Opt for a rechargeable scanner too – batteries are not reliable. Most come with a USB cable so you can charge it at home or in the car.

    Something with a clear display is beneficial, as well as the option to store certain microchip numbers if you will need them at a later date (say when you get home and need to call the vets to contact the owner).

    We also looked at cost. Microchip scanners aren’t an essential piece of kit for the majority of pet keepers, so you’d likely not use one daily unless you’re a rescuer. Therefore you won’t want to spend a lot. But we found that some of the cheapest microchip scanners simply don’t live up to the task at hand, so we had to find a balance.

    Because they aren’t a hugely popular item, there aren’t many brand names out there. Halo is probably the best-known brand if you’re concerned about the safety and security of non-branded electrical items.

    It is also best to buy a scanner that can read microchips at all frequencies, too. Microchips typically come in two types, ISO and non-ISO – you can read more about this in our FAQs.

    Size is also important. Nobody wants to go round the park carrying a big huge metal detector and there are plenty of dinky scanners which animal lovers can carry around in their bags covertly and simply bring them out when they suspect an animal is a stray.

    The further the reading distance (the distance at which a scanner can detect the chip’s unique ID code), the stronger the detection capabilities of the device. In general, an incredibly strong scanner can pick up readings at 15cm or further! This is something we looked for, too. It also makes your job easier, especially with stray or feral animals which may not allow you to get close.

    Other Buyers Ask...

    How much is a microchip scanner?

    They can range from around £20 to nearer £100. Cheaper models may just scan a microchip and give you the number, whereas a top of the range model could be connected to a database of lost animals online.

    However, it’s rare that you would ever have to pay more than £60 for a decent top of the range model and the ones at the bottom of the range still do the most essential job of giving you the microchip number.

    How do you use a microchip scanner?

    The most important thing to remember when using a pet microchip reader is patience. Although most pets are scanned in exactly the same place, microchips can shift and move around the body over time. Plus your scanner is having to take a reading through actual flesh, so it might not pick it up the first time round!

    When scanning, begin between the pet’s shoulders and move east to west, slowly moving down. Then repeat the process north to south from the pet’s head to their tail. Some people opt to do this in S-shaped patterns across the pet’s back.

    If this isn’t fruitful, try the flanks and sides of the animal, including legs, neck, chest and belly, just in case the chip has moved substantially within the body.

    Then as a final scan, change the position of the scanner in your hand by 90 degrees, as sometimes this can have an effect on readings.

    This whole process can take a minute or more, so it’s important to be patient, as it really is all too easy to just assume an animal is unchipped. Take the time to be extra sure.

    Why do I need a universal microchip scanner?

    A universal microchip scanner will read both ISO and non-ISO microchips.

    ISO (International Standards Organisation) microchips usually broadcast information on a frequency of 134.2kHz, whilst non-ISO frequency is 125 kHz or 128 kHz. The majority of scanners are now universal, so will operate at all frequencies, but some cheaper modern models will only scan at ISO level.

    ISO (International Standards Organisation) microchips are recognised worldwide. Non-ISO microchips are mostly found in older dogs and cats which were chipped before ISO was established, so while they’re rarer there is still a risk you could encounter one.

    Travel companies in the EU can read microchips that meet ISO standards 11784 and 11785. If you’re travelling to the EU with your pet and they don’t have an ISO microchip, you may have to take your own universal reader when you travel. Some companies and countries won’t allow non-ISO microchips, however, so it is essential to check before you travel.