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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.

Best Overall
Veepeak OBDCheck Scan Tool
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Summary
Summary

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.

Pros
Pros
  • Compatible with both Android and iOS devices
  • Compatible with a wide array of popular third-party apps
Cons
Cons
  • Not compatible with PCs
Best Overall
Veepeak OBDCheck Scan Tool
Best Value
Mestart OBDII Car Diagnostic Scan Tool
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Summary
Summary

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.

Pros
Pros
  • Has a small footprint
  • Compatible with Android devices, Windows OS, and even old Symbian-based mobile devices
  • Supports a number of third-party apps
Cons
Cons
  • Not compatible with iOS mobile devices
Best Value
Mestart OBDII Car Diagnostic Scan Tool
Honorable Mention
OBDLink MX+
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Summary
Summary

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.

Pros
Pros
  • Compatible with iOS, Android, Windows, and Kindle Fire
  • Works with the OBDLink app and dozens of third-party apps
  • Safe to leave plugged in
Cons
Cons
  • Relatively expensive device
Honorable Mention
OBDLink MX+
OBD2 Bluetooth Adapter In The Car
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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.

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Our Methodology

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

Best Overall
Veepeak OBDCheck Scan Tool

With all the combinations of operating systems, scanner apps, and price tags, the Veepeak OBDCheck tool stands out as a top choice. This Bluetooth adapter works with any iOS device and any number of Android phones and tablets. To further increase the adapter’s flexibility, it is compatible with a variety of mobile scan-tool apps. This unit is easy to plug in to any vehicle’s OBD2 connector port, making this a convenient, usable tool. The Veepeak OBDCheck tool also comes with a pouch for safe storage.


Unfortunately, this adapter is not compatible with PC programs.


Specs

  • Compatible With: iOS and Android
  • Suitable for: Cars and light trucks made in 1996 or later
  • Wi-Fi Capability: No

Pros

  • Works with all smartphones
  • Compatible with third-party mobile scanning apps
  • Can create customized dashboard
  • Quick, real-time sensor readings

Cons

  • Not compatible with PC programs
  • Will not work with non-ODB2 vehicles
Best Value
Mestart OBDII Diagnostic Scan Tool

For those serious about saving money, the Mestart OBDII Diagnostic Scan Tool is the only way to go. Android smartphones can be more affordable, and this Bluetooth scan tool was made to match up with Androids. This device also supports operations with Windows software and even older Symbian devices. The scanner syncs perfectly with paid and unpaid third-party apps, such as Torque Lite, Torque Pro, and OBD Car Doctor. 


The adapter's small, translucent blue body has a low profile to keep it out of the way while the vehicle is in operation but can be set up for use with multiple vehicles (with proper device disconnect and app-reboot processes). One drawback is that this device is not compatible with iOS devices.


Specs

  • Compatible With: Android, Symbian, and Windows
  • Suitable For: Vehicles made in 1998 or later
  • Wi-Fi Capability: No

Pros

  • Works with smartphones and PCs
  • Affordable price
  • Pair with third-party apps
  • Can be used with multiple vehicles

Cons

  • Doesn’t work with iOS smartphones
  • Will not work with non-ODB2 or electric vehicles
Best Premium
OBDLink MX+

Professional tools can cost a fortune, but the OBDLink MX+ provides average car owners with a top-tier performance at low cost. This OBD2 adapter pairs with iOS devices, Android phones and tablets, Kindle Fires, and Windows PCs. This professional-grade tool includes the OBDLink scanner app but is also compatible with tons of popular third-party apps. This scanner includes advanced OEM support for Ford, General Motors, Toyota, and Honda, among other makes. This adapter also has over-voltage protection, an intelligent sleep mode, and a security system to prevent unauthorized access. The OBDLink MX+ comes with a three-year warranty.


While affordable compared to professional scan tools, this Bluetooth adapter is still quite pricey compared to the competition.


Specs

  • Compatible With: iOS, Android, Kindle Fire, and Windows
  • Suitable For: Cars and light trucks made in 1996 or later
  • Wi-Fi Capability: No

Pros

  • Professional-grade tool
  • Compatible with many operating systems
  • Sleep mode and enhanced user security
  • Three-year warranty

Cons

  • Doesn’t work with hybrid or electric vehicles
  • May not work with all GM models
Best Professional
BlueDriver Bluetooth Pro

This tool is designed to turn any mobile device into an automotive pocket technician. This device is licensed for use with Apple and Android mobile devices. It uses the BlueDriver mobile scan-tool app with an array of diagnostic tools and repair data. Got a code but don’t know how to fix it? Launch the BlueDriver app, and the answer will appear, helping you save money on repairs and diagnostics efforts. This database uses data generated by millions of repairs verified by automotive technicians. The BlueDriver Bluetooth Pro also unlocks enhanced diagnostics from numerous automakers.


One downside is that this Bluetooth adapter is not compatible with third-party scanner apps, which is a shame considering how expensive it is.


Specs

  • Compatible With: iOS and Android
  • Suitable For: Most vehicles made in 2005 or later
  • Wi-Fi Capability: No

Pros

  • Offers a lot of diagnostic tools and data
  • Smartphone app identifies problems easily
  • Uses data verified by technicians
  • Includes extras from several automakers

Cons

  • Not compatible with third-party scanner apps
  • Only covers specific makes and models
Best Wide Compatibility
Vgate iCar Pro 4.0 Scanner

For a capable, well-priced OBD2 Bluetooth adapter, the Vgate iCar Pro 4.0 Scanner is worth a good look. This translucent gray adapter is designed to accommodate operations with iOS and Android devices, guaranteeing compatibility with most smartphones and similar devices. Despite an array of options, OBD2 scanner apps such as OBD Fusion, JScan, and Torque Pro will work with this device. Once the engine has been off for 30 minutes, the adapter will sleep to save battery. To wake it up and reconnect, simply unlock the doors or crank the engine. The Vgate iCar Pro 4.0 also comes with a two-year warranty.


The only drawback to this device is its incompatibility with PCs.


Specs

  • Compatible With: iOS and Android
  • Suitable for: Cars and light trucks made in 1996 or later
  • WiFi Compatibility: Available as an extra option

Pros

  • Works on most vehicles from 1996 and later
  • Works with many third-party scanner apps
  • Two-year warranty
  • Automatically sleeps

Cons

  • Doesn’t work with PCs
  • Cannot be used for 24V diesel engines
Most Versatile
ThinkCar Thinkdiag Dongle

The ThinkCar Thinkdiag Dongle will have you covered, especially if you’re looking for an OBD2 Bluetooth adapter that’ll cover multiple cars and most automakers. Compatible with an impressive 98 percent of domestic and imported vehicles, you can use the adapter with just about any car made since 1996. This dongle doesn’t tangle you up in cords or equipment. It quickly provides real-time data on your vehicle’s full system, including ABS, SRS, and transmission performance, and it can record data streams and perform functional tests. Need help once you’ve uncovered a code or two? This adapter also offers a remote diagnostics function for global assistance. You can also opt into the ThinkCar app’s subscription for additional help with particular vehicle makes and models.


The one complaint you’ll likely have with this OBD2 Bluetooth adapter is that every extra comes with a fee in the ThinkCar app. Those fees can add up.


Specs

  • Compatible With: iOS and Android
  • Suitable for: Vehicles made in 1996 or later
  • Wi-Fi Capability: No

Pros

  • Compatible with 98 percent of cars
  • Provides full system access and information
  • Includes even more features in the smartphone app
  • Backed by a one-year limited warranty

Cons

  • App features often come with a fee
Best Android
BAFX OBDII Reader

Ready to crush car maintenance and repairs out of the park? Then, the BAFX OBDII Reader is a solid choice. This OBD2 Bluetooth adapter works with any Android smartphone or tablet and any Windows PC, and it pairs up with many third-party scanner apps. Unlike other competitors, this device snags all OBD2 code protocols, including J1850 and CAN. The BAFX OBDII Reader provides users with a two-year manufacturer’s warranty and U.S.-based support.


Unfortunately, this device is incompatible with iPhone, iPads, and other iOS devices. It also will not read ABS, SRS, TPMS, or oil lights.


Specs

  • Compatible With: Android and Windows
  • Suitable for: All domestic vehicles from 1996 and later
  • WiFi Capability: Available as a separate device

Pros

  • Works with Android smartphones and Windows PCs
  • Catches all OBD2 code protocols
  • Two-year warranty
  • Compatible with many third-party apps

Cons

  • Doesn’t work with iOS devices
  • Cannot read ABS, SRS, TPMS, or oil notifications
Best for U.S. Vehicles
Friencity Bluetooth OBD2 Scanner Adapter

The Friencity Bluetooth OBD2 Scanner Adapter provides car owners with helpful support without breaking the bank. This device is compatible with Windows OBD2 software on PCs and many popular Android scan tools available in the Google Play store. The adapter supports the most common OBD2 protocols, including ISO15765, SAE J1939 CAN, KWP, and ISO9141. Simply download an app and the adapter will provide drivers with real-time data, such as engine RPMs, fuel trim, and airflow rate. The Friencity Bluetooth OBD2 Scanner Adapter can also read more than 3000 generic and manufacturer-specific codes.


This device is incompatible with iOS platforms, and it will not support diesel, hybrid, or electric vehicles.


Specs

  • Compatible With: Android and Windows
  • Suitable For: Most domestic vehicles made in 1996 or later
  • Wi-Fi Capability: No

Pros

  • Reads thousands of generic and manufacturer-specific codes
  • Quick, real-time data
  • Will work with PCs

Cons

  • Doesn’t work with iOS devices
  • Can’t be used on diesel, hybrid, or electric vehicles
  • Pairing can take time
Best for Live Data
Innova CarScan Mobile OBD2 Dongle

To see everything happening under the hood, the Innova CarScan Mobile OBD2 Dongle is a good option. This little device turns any smartphone into a diagnostic code reader, and you can leave it plugged in to see results anywhere, any time. It’s designed to work with Innova’s very own automotive apps, delivering detailed reports with trouble codes, verified fixes, and more. The digital dashboard is customizable, so you can create a layout that delivers the data you want to see. The adapter can offer a full vehicle scan, including ABS, SRS, brake-pad life, and code severity assessments. 


The biggest drawback to all of this live data is the speed with which it’s delivered. The OBD2 Bluetooth adapter is slow and takes a long time for the app to connect via Bluetooth. 


Specs

  • Compatible With: iOS and Android
  • Suitable for: Vehicles made in 1996 or later
  • Wi-Fi Capability: No

Pros

  • Works with most smartphones and vehicles
  • Customizable in-app digital dashboard
  • Scans include ABS, SRS, and brake pads
  • Can remain plugged in 

Cons

  • Slow data delivery
  • Syncing via Bluetooth can be very slow

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

Multi-OS Adapter

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

OS Compatibility

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.

App Compatibility

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.

Diagnostic Features

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.

Save Money

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

BlueDriver

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

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

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.

Innova

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

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.

BAFX

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.

FAQs 

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.