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Best Microchip Scanners for 2020

Thousands of pets go missing in the UK every year, causing many 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 chips.

But crucially, pets still won’t be found unless somebody finds them… and then physically scans them or takes the time to take them somewhere they can be.

Not many people are so kind, but with a good-quality microchip ID scanner, you can become a good pet samaritan with relative ease, helping your community and lost pets find their way home.

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
    VOSS.PET Animal Chip and RFID Mini Reader
    • Super lightweight, pocket scanner
    • Storage pouch & instructions
    • Recommended by vets
    Check Price
    Sonew RFID Chip Reader Scanner
    • Save up to 100 tags
    • Rechargeable battery
    • OLED screen
    Check Price

    The Top 6 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 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 removes 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!

    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.
    VOSS.PET Animal Chip and RFID Mini Reader

    A truly handheld device that fits snugly into your pocket, this is the most covert and easily carried scanner on the market, with a handy size of just over 10 cm!

    Recommended by vets, it’s a fantastic tool to have on your person if you work with animals, with impressively long battery life, well-lit high-tech digital display and an easy to charge USB connection.

    Working much like a precious little memory stick, it’s easy to hang around your neck and then transfer all your animal chip data onto the nearest PC and it utilises a simple one-button operation you won’t even have to think about!

    It’s also a powerful little fella despite its dinky nature, with a 10 cm reading distance for penetrating thick fur and splash-proof material to protect it from accidental spillages!

    After all, good things always come in small packages!

    Features

    • Super lightweight, pocket scanner
    • Storage pouch & instructions
    • Recommended by vets

    Specifications

    • Weight: 40 g
    • Dimensions: 10.9 x 1.4 x 3.4 cm
    • Chips Read: FDX-B, ID64

    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

    Things To Consider

    Frequency

    When shopping for scanners, there is almost nothing made of the radio frequency your reader can pick up, despite it being one of the most important things when it comes to accurate or even just successful readings.

    Most microchips operate at 125KHz, 128KHz and 132.2KHz and so you need a scanner that can operate at all of these frequencies to be in with any chance of successfully identifying an unknown chip.

    Portability

    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.

    Chip Universality

    One of the most confusing aspects of microchip scanners is their chip reading universality, as there are many different types of pet microchip out there and so some scanners can only pick up and read certain ones.

    That’s why getting a scanner that’s as universal as possible is incredibly important, especially if you own a shelter. There are plenty of horror stories out there of found pets being brought to shelters and those establishments lacking scanners which pick up rare frequencies or certain digits of chips.

    In general, it’s most important to have a scanner which can pick up ISO (International Standards Organisation) standard chips, as unsurprisingly, these are the most commonly used.

    This is a global standard intended to give continuity amongst identification systems worldwide, so that if pets get lost in other countries, most scanners will still be able to pick up a reading.

    The most common ISO standard chips are FDX-B and HDX chips which are detectable at 134.2KHz.

    Non-ISO chips also exist though, especially in older animals chipped before standards were implemented. These will usually emit lower frequencies of 125KHz or 128KHz and are commonly FDX-A.

    Rechargeability

    Nobody likes using batteries these days and there’d be nothing worse than coming across a stray animal only to discover your triple A’s had gone dud. Most scanners with USB cables and ports are thankfully rechargeable, meaning it’s never something you’ll have to worry about.

    Tag Saving

    If taking in a lost animal isn’t really an option for you, or you are in a career where you’re having to scan lots of pets per day, it’s handy to get a device which can store hundreds of identity tags at once onto its system so you can upload your data at a more convenient time.

    Computer Compatibility

    Scanners which are compatible with database software and such are vital to helping reunite owners with their lost pets, as you can plug in your scanner and check which ID tags you have found are listed as missing on such databases.

    Reading Distance

    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!

    Other Buyers Ask...

    How much is a microchip scanner?

    Given that you’re not only paying for a scanner but also an item which is then compatible with online software for tacking and tracing I.Ds, microchip readers are a piece of technology that’s understandably expensive.

    However, it’s rare that you would ever have to pay more than £60 for a truly top of the range model and there are plenty priced as low as £40 which can still do the job.

    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, chips 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 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. Why not take the time to be extra sure