Best OBD2 Bluetooth Adapter (Review & Buying Guide) in 2022
Know your car inside and out with these Bluetooth OBD2 adapters
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BY Heather Fishel / LAST UPDATED ON December 8, 2021
That feeling of dread when the check-engine light illuminates on your dashboard can quickly turn your blue skies gray. Is it just a loose fuel cap, or could it be something worse? You’d prefer not to think about it, but you don’t want to lose another arm or leg to the mechanic so he can quickly diagnose a problem and perform a simple fix. An OBD2 Bluetooth adapter can save you time and money by analyzing sensor readings and other data that will help monitor your car’s health. Easy to use and convenient, an OBD2 Bluetooth adapter can even be used with your smartphone, letting you check in under the hood right from your favorite device. Choosing the right OBD2 Bluetooth adapter can be a little overwhelming, but I’ve got you covered with my picks for the best OBD2 Bluetooth adapters.
The Veepeak OBDCheck Scan Tool is compatible with Android and iOS devices as well as a long list of third-party apps and is also attractively priced.
- Compatible with both Android and iOS devices
- Compatible with a wide array of popular third-party apps
- Not compatible with PCs
The Mestart OBD2 Bluetooth adapter is an excellent budget option for Android and PC users. It has a low-profile design and is compatible with many popular scanner apps.
- Has a small footprint
- Compatible with Android devices, Windows OS, and even old Symbian-based mobile devices
- Supports a number of third-party apps
- Not compatible with iOS mobile devices
The OBDLink MX+ is one of the best Bluetooth adapters on the market, thanks to OS and app compatibility, enhanced OEM support, and numerous safety and power-saving features.
- Compatible with iOS, Android, Windows, and Kindle Fire
- Works with the OBDLink app and dozens of third-party apps
- Safe to leave plugged in
- Relatively expensive device
Why Trust Us
Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
In order to choose the best OBD2 Bluetooth adapters available, I compared a truckload of devices offered online. Details such as the brand, features offered, and versatility of readings helped separate the adapters, with the most capable products standing out as some of the best. I also examined the compatible devices to ensure these adapters would work with today’s most popular smartphones, taking a look at their connectivity, their reliability (especially in terms of performance and accurate readings), and ease of use. The OBD2 Bluetooth adapters listed here are the easiest to use, the most convenient, and some of the smartest you’ll find.
Best OBD2 Bluetooth Adapter Reviews & Recommendations
Our Verdict on OBD2 Bluetooth Adapters
The Veepeak OBDCheck Scanner is the perfect balance between compatibility and affordability. It works with virtually every Android and iOS device and accommodates almost countless scanner apps. The Mestart OBDII Bluetooth Car Diagnostic Scan Tool is a value option for those using Android devices and PC-based scanners.
What to Consider When Buying OBD2 Bluetooth Adapters
Start your search for the right OBD2 Bluetooth adapter for your vehicle and smartphone here. This buying guide will help you separate the quality picks from all the rest, making your shopping experience a breeze.
Types of OBD2 Bluetooth Adapters
Most OBD2 Bluetooth adapters are designed to pair with multiple operating systems. Many drivers have had both Apple and Android mobile devices, and a lot of them own a Windows PC. Most adapters will combine Android and iOS or Android and PC compatibility into a single device, but iOS and PC combos are virtually non-existent. The best device is one that communicates with all three operating systems, an uncommon and often expensive find.
Adapter With App
Most OBD2 Bluetooth adapters are designed to work with a number of third-party mobile scan-tool apps available in both the Apple App Store and the Google Play store. However, some devices were designed to work with a purpose-built app from the adapter’s manufacturer. Many of these devices will still work with the third-party apps, but buyers may run into an adapter that only works with the proprietary app.
OBD2 Bluetooth Adapter Key Features
To avoid turning that new OBD2 Bluetooth adapter into a little plastic brick, pick one up that will communicate with your smartphone or tablet. Virtually every adapter on the market will be compatible with Android devices, but iOS users will need to search a little longer to find a compatible adapter.
While a few OBD2 Bluetooth adapters provide access to a proprietary scan-tool app, the vast majority of these devices are designed to work with the most common third-party apps available on Google Play or in the App Store. While most adapters will work with most apps, it pays to make sure the adapter and intended app are compatible.
Every OBD2 Bluetooth adapter comes with different capabilities and different diagnostic features. While some are more streamlined and only check the basics, others can offer more extensive diagnostics, covering your brake pads, braking system, TPMS, and more. You can also find adapters that’ll deliver even better extras such as live telemetry, so you can get real-time results without any delay.
OBD2 Bluetooth Adapter Benefits
Better Car Care
OBD2 data allows you to know your car better than you could without that data. By monitoring fault codes and making repairs on your own, you will have a much better sense of your vehicle’s strengths and weaknesses, allowing you to take better care of it with customized care and better preventative maintenance.
When paired with a competent app, a Bluetooth OBD2 adapter can save you boatloads of money by allowing you to quickly and efficiently diagnose a vehicle fault code. This will enable you to either make a simple repair yourself or give your mechanic a solid starting point when you take the car in for the repair.
Improve Driving Performance
Most OBD2 adapters and apps allow you to monitor your vehicle’s driving performance, such as its fuel economy and operating temperature. This information can be invaluable when tuning your car, and some apps even allow you to make the computer adjustments yourself (assuming you are qualified to do so).
OBD2 Bluetooth Adapter Brands to Know
In 2006, Maurice Tuff launched BlueDriver as a way to provide car owners with the extra know-how to tackle today’s complex car repairs. Today, the company specializes in automotive diagnostics, thanks to tools such as the BlueDriver Bluetooth Pro and the BlueDriver mobile app.
OBDLink was launched by a group of U.S. engineers with a passion for providing car owners with top-notch tools for their own four-wheeled passions. With products like the OBDLink MX+, the company provides drivers with an indispensable car care tool.
Veepeak owes its existence to a group of U.S. entrepreneurs who wanted to give drivers the tools they need to achieve and maintain peak performance from their cars. Products such as the VeePeak OBDCheck BLE exist to keep drivers cruising and cars out of the shop.
As the self-proclaimed number-one diagnostic tool brand in the U.S., Innova is a name you can’t overlook when you’re shopping for a new OBD2 Bluetooth adapter. This brand offers high-quality diagnostic equipment and tools designed to be used right in your own garage. With innovative diagnostic features and tools that cover just about every vehicle and every diagnostic need, Innova’s selection can help you pinpoint almost any problem.
ThinkCar creates some of the smallest and most convenient OBD2 Bluetooth adapters available, allowing you to gather insight into your vehicle’s codes without needing a huge tool or clunky accessory.
While BAFX doesn’t specialize in diagnostic tools or even automotive accessories, it does create a wide array of electronics. All of this brand’s products are constructed and designed with price in mind, meaning you can find affordable options within the BAFX product line.
OBD2 Bluetooth Adapter Pricing
You can find OBD2 Bluetooth adapters for $25 or less, but they’re usually Android/PC or Android-only options. Compatibility with iOS is uncommon in this bracket. For $25 to $50, though, you’ll find some iOS-compatible adapters. The Android/iOS/PC adapter may make an occasional appearance, as will proprietary apps. For $50 and up, you’ll be able to choose from an array of Android/iOS/PC combinations, and these adapters often include proprietary software as well.
Tips and Tricks
As with something you do for decades, you pick up a few tips and tricks along the way in terms of selecting the right product, and/or using it. That’s the case with us and OBD2 Bluetooth adapters. To help you bridge the information gap, here’s a selection of what we’ve learned along the way.
- Before purchasing an OBD2 adapter, know which apps you plan to pair with the adapter. Some adapters only support one mobile OS.
- Always plug in your OBD2 adapter before starting your vehicle (unless the manufacturer indicates otherwise). This prevents the device’s software from being corrupted when being plugged into a live system.
- Unplug your OBD2 adapter when not in use to prevent an unnecessary power drain on the car’s battery.
- If you do not understand a vehicle code, don’t clear it. Consult your mechanic.
You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers.
Q: Is it OK to leave an OBD2 Bluetooth adapter plugged in?
A: After shutting down your vehicle, make sure to unplug your OBD2 adapter to prevent the device from draining your car’s battery.
Q: What's the difference between OBD and OBD2?
A: An OBD (onboard diagnostic) is an automotive electronic system found on some vehicles manufactured in the 1980s through 1995. This system uses make-specific codes, scanners, and connection points. OBD2 is a universal diagnostic system found on cars made in 1996 or later designed to comply with California emissions requirements.
Q: Are all ODB2 Bluetooth adapters the same?
A: Technically, all OBD2 Bluetooth adapters offer the ability to read and clear vehicle codes, and they connect to your smartphone (and a smartphone app) via Bluetooth, but that’s where the similarities end. Each adapter will offer its own suite of diagnostic features and capabilities, and some adapters can read more codes and offer more comprehensive insight than others. That’s why it’s important to consider what an adapter can read and what systems it’ll cover in your vehicle.