OBD2 scan tools are essential to tackle with engine emission problems. In the U.S., any vehicle manufactured in 1996 and later are equipped with OBD2 (On-Board Diagnostics II) system. You can read trouble codes and engine parameters with a scan tool plugged into an OBD2 port. OBD2 adapters are paired with your smartphone, tablet, or laptop, and the adapters are connected with the vehicle computer through an OBD port. Now, your mobile device works as a sophisticated scan tool. In general, the adapters are less expensive but more features than the conventional scan tools. Thus, they are trendy among both home and auto mechanics. Here are the best OBD scan tools in 2018.
BlueDriver Bluetooth Professional OBDII Scan Tool ($99.95)
BlueDriver by Lemur Vehicle Monitors is a professional grade OBD adapter. It uses Bluetooth to connect with Android or iOS devices. The adapter exclusively works with their original app called BlueDriver app, which is free to download from Google Play Store for Android and Apple App Store for iOS devices. There is no app for Windows.
In addition to basic features like reading/clearing codes, freeze frame, and live data, you can perform Enhanced Diagnostics for supported vehicles. Enhanced Diagnostics allows you to scan vehicle modules other than the engine, such as ABS, Airbag, TPMS, Transmission, and so on. At the time of writing, the supported vehicles are GM, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, and Nissan (available worldwide), as well as BMW, VW, and 2003+ Honda (available in North America). Please note that this coverage is expanding. The company has been working on adding more and more manufacturers to be supported for Enhanced Diagnostics.
There is another notable feature called Repair Report. Based on the trouble code you retrieve with the BlueDriver adapter, you can access Repair Report containing the details of the problem, the frequency, possible causes, and confirmed fixes verified by certified auto mechanics. The report eliminates the need of searching all these information for yourself and saves you time.
- Compatible with Android and iOS devices
- Enhanced Diagnostics
- Repair Report
- 1-year manufacturer warranty
- Not compatible with Windows
- Not compatible with third-party apps
BlueDriver is good for those who focus on vehicle diagnostics and fixes. If you don’t mind you can’t use any third-party apps with it, it would be the best choice. The company, Lemur Vehicle Monitors, offers good customer support. And, the adapter comes with a 1-year limited warranty. Click here to see the latest price of BlueDriver.
OBDLink MX+ Bluetooth OBD2 Scanner ($99.95)
OBDLink MX+ by Scantool.net LLC is the newest addition to the market in 2018. It has all features of existing OBDLink MX plus a compatiblity with iOS devices in addition to Android and Windows and a capability of Enhanced Diagnostics.
OBDLink MX and LX are also Bluetooth OBD adapters but they are not compatible with iOS devices. OBDLink MX+ is the first adapter by Scantool.net LLC compatible with all Android, iOS, and Windows.
Like BlueDriver, Enhanced Diagnostics allows you to access other vehicle modules than engine computer such as ABS, Airbag, TPMS, Transmission, and so on. However, the supported vehicles are fewer than BlueDriver. At the time of writing, the supported manufacturers are Ford, GM, Mazda, Nissan, and Toyota.
Please note that Enhanced Diagnostics works in their original app called OBDLink app with Enhanced Add-on activated. The activation used to cost $9.99 per add-on, but now all of them are free. If you had purchased before they became free, contact the company, and they will issue a refund.
Unlike BlueDriver, OBDLink MX+ is compatible with many third-party apps such as Torque, DashCommand, Harry’s Lap Timer, etc. And, it supports GM SW-CAN and Ford MS-CAN protocols that allow accessing additional parameters. You may be able to remote-start and lock/unlock the doors with the third-party app called obdCANeX.
- Compatible with Android, iOS, and Windows
- Enhanced Diagnostics
- Compatible with third-party apps
- Free OBD software for Windows
- 3-year manufacturer warranty
- Supported vehicles for Enhanced Diagnostics are fewer than BlueDriver
OBDLink MX+ is the most versatile OBD adapter on the market. There are a lot of possibilities with it. The OBDLink app is free to download for Android and iOS devices. There are no extra costs or in-app purchases. You will have a license to activate OBD software for Windows called OBDwiz. And the company offers a long 3-year warranty. Click here to see the latest price of OBDLink MX+.
BAFX Products Bluetooth Diagnostic OBDII Reader/Scanner ($21.99)
BAFX Products OBDII adapter uses Bluetooth to connect with your smartphone, tablet, or laptop. It’s compatible with Android and Windows. If you own iOS devices, you should choose the WiFi version of BAFX Products adapter ($26.25).
It’s a generic adapter that provides basic features. There is no original app by the company, but the adapter is compatible with many third-party apps.
BAFX Products Bluetooth adapter have been very popular for many years. It’s one of the longest selling OBD adapter on the market. The reason why it’s been popular for a long time is its inexpensive price and reliability.
Many other adapters at the same price range are copied or cloned. There are a lot of defects. They can be hit-or-miss. However, BAFX Products adapters are created and sold directly by the company. As long as you buy from Amazon, you will get the right one with 2-year manufacturer warranty.
The size of the adapter is relatively large. The overall length is 3.5-inch. This size can be a trouble your driving depending on the location of an OBD port.
- Compatible with many third-party apps
- 2-year manufacturer warranty
- Basic features only
- A large size
- Not compatible with iOS
BAFX Products Bluetooth adapter is one of few reliable OBD adapters in the same price range. There are no special features with it, but the price is very inexpensive. It’s a good entry-level item for those who are not sure about the need of OBD scan tool for yourself. It comes with 2-year manufacturer warranty. Click here to see the latest price of BAFX Products Bluetooth adapter.