OBD2 scanners are used as diagnostic kits for your car to find any potential problems with it without having to take it to a garage. Usually, these devices are handheld and display the information on the screen. Most models you’ll find are Bluetooth compatible and can be used with an adapter to feed the information straight to a smartphone.
An OBD2 Bluetooth Adapter gives you all the function of a trusty OBD2 scanner but allows you to use your phone for the work instead of a dedicated, sometimes clunky device. Instead, you get to use your own phone, giving you access to the Internet for diagnosing codes and accessing tools, straight from a dedicated app. These adapters are small and plug straight into a standard port on most diagnostic scanners.
Let’s check out the 5 top OBD2 Bluetooth adapters that you can buy in the UK today.
Best OBD2 Bluetooth Adapters in the UK Reviews
#1. Carista OBD2 Bluetooth Adapter
Carista’s OBD2 Bluetooth Adapter is as good as it gets. It fits a wide range of cars by top brands like Volkswagen, Audi, Nissan, BMW, Lexus, Mini, Scion, Toyota, SEAT, Skoda and Infiniti, and is a sleek, modern-looking device that fits into the OBD2 port with ease. Ensure Bluetooth is on and open the Carista app, and you’ll be able to quickly, intuitively diagnose what’s wrong with your car in seconds.
Carista works with a number of compatible partner apps, giving you plenty of versatility and function to get to the bottom of any error codes or DCT’s. And it works with both basic OBD2 codes and Advanced diagnostic functions (such as ABS, airbag, TPMS, and more) so you can always tell what is wrong with your car. Bonus points; Carista will include a 1-month free trial of the paid app features.
Problems? Well, it costs money to use the app – at roughly 40 pounds a year for a subscription. If you only use it once or twice a year (hopefully), that begins to seem a bit pricey which is too bad – because the device itself is super affordable. We also wish it worked with more cars.
But what do we think all in all? Go for it – if your car is compatible. It’s a top-of-the-line code reader that promises to help diagnose exactly what is wrong with your car in no time at all and stream straight to your phone, letting you use all different kinds of apps and functions.
- Super easy to use
- Looks nice
- Great app (works with both iOS and Android)
- Works with other compatible apps
- Basic and Advanced functions (ABS, airbag, etc.)
- High quality
- Subscription is expensive
- Doesn’t work with all cars
Verdict: Best Overall
#2. Torque Pro Elm 327
The Torque Pro Elm 327 is ridiculously simple – almost too simple. But it is also an effective tool that pops onto any OBD2 reader (and works with most of them). It works with the Torque app, which can be downloaded from the Google Play store, and reads all basic OBD2 codes. (Keep in mind that it will NOT clear airbag or ABS fault codes; those need to be checked out by a professional).
There’s not much to this code reader; it’s just a basic OBD2 scanner that transmits to your phone via Bluetooth. No fancy frills or extra bonus features. The Torque app gives you a database of codes to search, or you can quickly plug the code into the web and find out what’s wrong with your vehicle in a matter of seconds. Straightforward and easy.
Cons? It doesn’t work with iOS. Some people find the cheap plastic a bit flimsy and slippery, and hard to plug into the right port; it can be a tight fit. And it doesn’t work with all newer cars.
But it does the job for the vast majority of cars, and that’s really all we’re looking for here; a solid piece of equipment to get the job done on the cheap. For that, it excels.
- Super simple design. Reads codes instantly
- Works with most vehicles with OBD2 (not some newer vehicles)
- Torque app provides instant code reads/lookup
- Setup in 5 minutes
- Android only
- Plastic can be cheap and slippery, tight fit in OBD2 ports
- Doesn’t work on some newer cars
#3. kungfuren OBD2 Bluetooth Scanner Adapter
The kungfuren OBD2 Bluetooth scanner is not as straightforward as the Torque ELM 327, or as featured as the Carista. It claims to work with almost any OBD2 vehicle (gas or diesel, 1996 or newer from the US and 2000 or newer from the EU). And it works with both Android and iOS phones, and will work with apps from other brands like Torque and OBD Car Doctor.
In terms of functions, this scanner has it all; it can read DTC’s, Check Engine Lights, O2 sensors, Fuel Trim, Air Fuel Ratio,
Keep an eye out for faulty or buggy models; some models have some problems with accurate codes, picking up codes on some vehicles, and with fitting all vehicles. Some people have also complained about receiving counterfeit, knock-off codes, too.
All in all, we think the kungfuren OBD2 Bluetooth scanner is another excellent option. It’ll work with both Android and iOS, has tons of features and reads almost every code, and works with several different apps. It even comes with a 12-month warranty to guarantee you’re happy with it.
- Compatible with most cars
- Tons of functions and codes (DCT, O2 sensors, CEL, etc)
- No batteries
- Works with multiple apps
- Works with both iOs and Android
- Poor Quality control; plenty of buggy models
- Some people report counterfeit models
#4. Panlong Bluetooth ELM 327
This Bluetooth OBD2 scanner from Panlong is just like the Torque ELM 327 above: super simple and no-frills, but reliable and functional. It works with all 1996 or newer gasoline vehicles with OBD2 codes – including all the top brands. And, while it’s only on Android, works with a bunch of different apps, including Torque, Torque Lite, OBD Car Doctor, even the Prius App.
When it comes to codes, this reader supports all OBD2 functions, including J1850 PWM, J1850 VPW, ISO9141-2, ISO14230-4 (KWP2000), ISO15765-4 (CAN-BUS). And it can read off more than just DCT’s, but can check your fuel consumption, intake manifold pressure, calculated load valve, even airflow rate with the right app. That’s some serious versatility! Setup is super simple and takes just a few minutes to be reading codes with accuracy.
Cons? Some users have reported it not working with their car, despite claiming compatibility. Sometimes that’s just a tossup, and you have no idea of knowing if it will work with your vehicle until you try. And other people have mentioned that the build quality is just not very good – just like the Torque ELM 327. We also wish it worked with iOS too.
But again, for the price, this is a functional piece that more than gets the job done. It’s really just a tool to connect your phone and app to your car without a lot of fancy functions, and for that – it definitely worth considering.
- Super versatile. Works with most cars.
- Tons of functions and code compatibility.
- Works with a wide variety of car-utility apps
- Doesn’t work with iOs.
- Does not work with some cars it says it works with.
- Build quality is not great.
#5. Edasion ELM327
Another inexpensive and simple Bluetooth scanner, this device is made from a durable plastic, is compact and easy to use. It works with virtually all 1996 or newer car models, and even claims to work on diesel and hybrid models, which is a step above most code readers; few scanners will work with more than gasoline models. And it supports all OBDII protocols – including ISO15765-4 (CAN).
In terms of functions and codes, it’s a pretty capable device; it will work with everything from Check Engine Lights to Engine RPM, O2 sensors and airflow rate (just like the Panlong above), making it an all-in-one device for knowing how your vehicle is performing on all cylinders. It’s compatible with Android and you can use it with a variety of apps, including Torque Pro and Dash Command.
Most people absolutely love this, but there are a few complaints – such as build quality and stability. It’s just not the best-built piece of hardware, and it does not do a good job of connecting to many cars to get stable readings. It’s also not very durable, and only works with Android; no iOS compatibility.
As with some of the other models, that could honestly just be a function of it’s price range; it’s a very inexpensive reader! For the majority of users, it does its job and does it well, broadcasting OBDII codes to your phone with ease.
- Super simple.
- Works with most cars – even diesel
- Compatible with different apps
- Android only
- Not very durable
- Doesn’t fit well into some OBD ports
OBD2 Bluetooth Adapters Buying Considerations
Compatibility: Does it work With Your Car?
This is a pretty important consideration for any device, actually; will the Bluetooth scanner work with your car? All the OBD2 scanners on our list will work with basic 16-pin OBD2 ports, but not with all cars. Most work with US cars 1996 newer and EU cars 2000 or newer; double-check with your car before purchasing.
Apps: What App Does it Work With?
A Bluetooth OBD2 Scanner is basically just a tool to bridge the gap between your car and your phone, with the app often being more important than the actual scanner being used. Some brands – like the Carista – work with their own apps. Others are compatible with popular apps already out there, like the Car Doctor app, Torque Pro or Torque Pro (very popular car apps). And keep in mind that not all scanners work with BOTH Android and iOS.
Functions and Codes: More than OBD2
While all the scanners on our list read basic OBD2 codes, some read much more; newer cars usually record and transmit info for ABS and airbags, and for live stats like air intake, airflow rate, and even calculated flow rate. If you like troubleshooting your car, this puts all the info you need right at your fingertips. For some cars, it may also be a good idea to double-check to see what OBDII protocols the scanner works with.
OBD2 adapters are very popular these days due to their compatibility with smartphones and the ability to potentially self-diagnose any issues with your car. They’re generally quite cheap to buy, but there are so many of them out there, the choice seems endless. We’ve narrowed things down to what we believe to be the top 5 OBD2 Bluetooth adapters that you can buy today. The Carista OBD2 Bluetooth Adapter comes out as our number 1 choice overall and has to at least be considered if you’re intending on buying one.