LAST UPDATED: December 15, 2020

The Best OBD2 Bluetooth Adapters (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021

Best Choice VeePeak OBDCheck BLE VeePeak OBDCheck BLE
Best Value Launchh Mestart OBDII Bluetooth Car Diagnostic Scan Tool Launchh Mestart OBDII Bluetooth Car Diagnostic Scan Tool
Premium Pick BlueDriver Bluetooth Pro BlueDriver Bluetooth Pro

That check engine light has been worrying you for quite a while, and each time your significant other mentions the light, you know something has to be done. Now, it’s finally time to do something. Your new OBD2 Bluetooth adapter just came in the mail, and now that you have the perfect scan app downloaded, it’s time to plug and play. A quick scan and a Google search reveal that the issue is nothing more than a sensor that is super easy to replace, and before long you are back on the road without a care in the world.

Of course, none of this would have been possible without that OBD2 Bluetooth adapter. There are some things only a mechanic can do, but with the right adapter and app combination, it’s much easier to know when to take the car into the shop and when you can fix it yourself.

The Best OBD2 Bluetooth Adapters

There’s nothing quite like getting the best bang for your buck, and the VeePeak OBDCheck BLE Bluetooth adapter is a great option. This adapter reads and resets engine codes while supporting real-time vehicle data in all five standard OBD2 protocols, both SAE and ISO. It pairs perfectly over Bluetooth with both Android and iOS mobile devices, allowing virtually anyone to pick one up without a second thought. Plug it in, then pair it with any supported phone or tablet. This adapter is designed to work with a wide array of third-party OBD2 scan tool apps and comes with a one-year replacement warranty. The VeePeak OBDCheck BLE provides an excellent combination of quality and affordability and can save drivers hundreds in repairs.

This adapter, unfortunately, is not compatible with Windows devices or PCs.

Key Features
  • Mobile OBD2 Bluetooth adapter
  • Reads and resets engine codes
  • Supports real-time vehicle data readings
  • Supports ISO 14230-4 KWP 2000, ISO 15765-4 CAN, ISO 9141-2, SAE J1850 PWM, and SAE J1850 VPW protocols
Specification
  • Brand VeePeak
  • Model 8542040086
  • Weight 2.3 ounces
PROS

Android and iOS compatible

Works with many third-party apps

One-year replacement warranty

CONS

Not Windows compatible

Saving money is the whole point of an OBD2 adapter, so if pennies matter, then the Launchh Mestart OBDII Bluetooth Car Diagnostic Scan Tool is the way to go. This Android-ready OBD2 Bluetooth adapter reads and reports real-time vehicle data but also reads and resets engine codes that trigger warning and check engine lights. This adapter is very inexpensive and is compatible with Android as well as Windows and Symbian operating systems, increasing its flexibility. To further expand its overall usability, the adapter works with many third-party apps, such as Torque (Lite or Pro), OBD Car Doctor, and more. The Launchh Mestart OBDII Bluetooth Car Diagnostic Scan Tool also sports a low physical profile to stay out of the way during use.

Sadly, this device is not iOS compatible, and oddly, it does not support vehicles manufactured for the 1996 and 1997 model years.

Key Features
  • Android OBD2 Bluetooth adapter
  • Reads and resets engine codes
  • Supports real-time vehicle data readings
  • Supports ISO 14230-4 KWP 2000, ISO 15765-4 CAN, and ISO 9141-2 protocols
Specification
  • Brand Launchh
  • Model Launchh-RS010
  • Weight 0.7 ounces
PROS

Inexpensive

Android, Windows, and Symbian compatible

Works with many third-party apps

Low profile housing

CONS

Not iOS compatible

Does not support 1996 and 1997 models

While the BlueDriver Bluetooth Pro may not have earned the top spot on this list, the battle for first place was hotly contested, and with good reason. This mobile OBD2 Bluetooth adapter is compatible with any Android or iOS mobile device, making it an excellent investment for virtually any car enthusiast. In addition to providing the standard access to real-time vehicle data and engine code readings and resets, this adapter provides what may be the most comprehensive diagnostics and repair support available today. Not only can it read normally inaccessible make-specific protocols, each reported code links to a specific repair often used to address the issue at hand, a rare advantage for DIYers. Of course, the BlueDriver Bluetooth Pro provides this information via the free BlueDriver app.

The downsides to this adapter are its price tag and incompatibility with third-party apps. Sadly, it also lacks Windows compatibility.

Key Features
  • Mobile OBD2 Bluetooth adapter
  • Reads and resets engine codes
  • Supports real-time vehicle data readings
  • Provides extensive diagnostics and repair support
Specification
  • Brand BlueDriver
  • Model LSB2
  • Weight 2.1 ounces
PROS

Android and iOS compatible

Free BlueDriver app

The app includes a vast library of codes and repair solutions; features enhanced diagnostics for most common manufacturers

CONS

Expensive

Not Windows compatible

Only works with the BlueDriver app

Every code needs to be unlocked before it can be read and understood. The Vgate iCar Pro BLE 4.0 unlocks any vehicle’s OBD2 code, thus opening the gate to savings and improved automotive care. This mobile Bluetooth adapter links nicely with Android and iOS smartphones and tablets to allow users access to vehicle code readings and resets as well as valuable real-time data readings. It syncs with many popular third-party scan tool apps, like OBD Auto Doctor, Jscan, OBD Fusion, and more, and supports all standard OBD2 protocols. The adapter features auto-sleep, battery-saving technology, and its low-profile housing keeps it out of the way when left plugged in. The Vgate iCar Pro BLE 4.0 also includes a one-year warranty to provide users with peace of mind.

The only real con with this adapter is its lack of Windows compatibility. Otherwise, what’s not to love?

Key Features
  • Mobile OBD2 Bluetooth adapter
  • Reads and resets engine codes
  • Supports real-time vehicle data readings
  • Features auto-sleep battery-saver technology
  • Supports standard OBD2 protocols
Specification
  • Brand Vgate
  • Model 8542040060
  • Weight 1.6 ounces
PROS

Android and iOS compatible

Works with many third-party apps

Low profile housing

One-year warranty

CONS

Not Windows compatible

Simplicity keeps life moving at just the right pace. When it comes to car diagnostics, the BAFX Products Bluetooth OBDII Reader provides the perfect level of both simplicity and practicality. This OBD2 adapter was designed for use with Android and Windows operating systems, allowing users to take advantage of multiple different electronic platforms. It reads and resets engine codes but also supports readings of real-time vehicle data for those interested in a more hands-on approach to their vehicles. Once paired with a device and synced with any common, third-party scan tool app, this adapter makes running diagnostics a breeze, thanks to its compatibility with all standard OBD2 protocols. The BAFX Products Bluetooth OBDII Reader also comes with a two-year warranty.

Sadly, this adapter is a bit bulky and does not communicate with iOS devices. As a more basic tool, it does not support ABS, SRS, TPMS, or oil change lights.

Key Features
  • Mobile OBD2 Bluetooth adapter
  • Reads and resets engine codes
  • Supports real-time vehicle data readings
  • Supports standard OBD2 protocols, including SAE J1850 and ISO CAN
Specification
  • Brand BAFX Products
  • Model BAFX3127
  • Weight 3.0 ounces
PROS

Android and Windows compatible

Works with many third-party apps

Two-year warranty

CONS

Not iOS compatible

Bulky housing

Does not support ABS, SRS, TPMS, or oil change lights

Often, cars like to keep their problems buried deep inside, but with the FYSMY OBD2 Scanner, any driver can easily shed some light on the deeper issue. This mobile OBD2 Bluetooth adapter easily connects to any car’s data port while simultaneously syncing with any device running on Android, iOS, or Windows. Once paired with any number of commonly available, third-party scan tool apps, the adapter effortlessly reads and resets engine codes, and it also caters to those track-addicted drivers who crave real-time performance data. As one would expect, this device supports all standard OBD2 protocols, providing scan coverage even to those ‘96 Firebird Trans Ams, Dodge Rams, and F-350s. The FYSMY OBD2 Scanner even includes an integrated LED, allowing users to plug it in after dark.

The only major knock against this OBD2 adapter is its inability to read and reset more advanced codes as compared to its higher-end competitors.

Key Features
  • Mobile OBD2 Bluetooth adapter
  • Reads and resets engine codes
  • Supports real-time vehicle data readings
  • Supports CAN, SAE J1850 PWM, SAE J1850 VPW, ISO 14230-4 KWP 2000, and ISO 9141-2 protocols
Specification
  • Brand FYSMY
  • Model 0112
  • Weight N/A
PROS

Android, iOS, and Windows compatible

Works with many third-party apps

LED for easy port identification

CONS

Does not provide comprehensive diagnostics

Pick up and plug in the LELink2 BLE OBD-II Car Diagnostic Tool, and get some clarity on those obnoxious dashboard lights that never seem to go away. With this Android and iOS compatible OBD2 Bluetooth adapter, users can quickly and easily monitor real-time data while also reading and resetting engine codes. Unlike a number of its competitors, this unit also provides support for electric vehicles. It works with plenty of third-party apps, including OBD Fusion, LeafSpy Pro, Dyno Chart, and many more, making it an excellent tool for a wide range of applications. To help short circuit a common adapter frustration, the low-profile LELink2 BLE OBD-II Car Diagnostic Tool’s automatic standby mode allows users to leave it plugged in without draining the car’s battery.

Sadly, this adapter lacks any Windows support, and Android support can be a bit spotty, leaving a few users a bit frustrated.

Key Features
  • Mobile OBD2 Bluetooth adapter
  • Reads and resets engine codes
  • Supports real-time vehicle data readings
  • Supports LeafSpy Pro and similar apps
  • Auto battery-saving standby mode
Specification
  • Brand LELink
  • Model KSO1702
  • Weight 1.1 ounces
PROS

Android and iOS compatible

Works with many third-party apps

Supports electric vehicles

Safe to leave plugged in

Low profile housing

CONS

Not Windows compatible

Inconsistent Android support

Save some money at the shop and the phone store. Pick up an Android, then pick up a Panlong OBDII Diagnostic Scanner for Android to match. This Android-specific OBD2 Bluetooth adapter will keep everything rolling smoothly when paired with one of a variety of third-party OBD2 scan tool apps, such as Torque (Lite and Pro), Car Scanner, OBD Auto Doctor, and more. It reads and resets engine codes with ease and provides real-time data readings on any vehicle manufactured after 1995. This unit supports all standard OBD2 protocols, making it the perfect companion on any road trip. Its diminutive size makes it easy to leave plugged in during extended drives, and the inexpensive Panlong OBDII Diagnostic Scanner for Android is backed by a one-year money-back guarantee.

The biggest downside to this device is its lack of compatibility with iOS and Windows operating systems.

Key Features
  • Android OBD2 Bluetooth adapter
  • Reads and resets engine codes
  • Supports real-time vehicle data readings
  • Supports ISO 14230-4 KWP 2000, ISO 15765-4 CAN, ISO 9141-2, SAE J1850 PWM, and SAE J1850 VPW protocols
Specification
  • Brand Panlong
  • Model PL-B02
  • Weight 0.6 ounces
PROS

Inexpensive

Android compatible

Works with many third-party apps

Low profile housing

One-year money-back guarantee

CONS

Not iOS or Windows compatible

Nailing down specific issues on any machine can be a challenge, but with the Autophix 3210, diagnosing automotive problems is anything but difficult. This OBD2 Bluetooth adapter readily reads and resets error codes and can generate on-the-fly real-time vehicle data readings. Thanks to its support for all standard OBD2 protocols, it provides users with loads of automotive information, including a car’s battery status, an uncommon yet welcome feature. The adapter’s paired app, OBD Mate allows users to quickly and easily diagnose frustrating or concerning issues, and it runs on Android, iOS, and Windows devices for near-maximum compatibility. The app includes support for multiple languages as well as an integrated Google search function, allowing Autophix 3210 owners to find fixes in a flash.

Unfortunately, this adapter only works with OBD Mate and no other app. Also, recent iOS updates have caused issues with the app, hopefully only a temporary issue.

Key Features
  • Mobile OBD2 Bluetooth adapter
  • Reads and resets engine codes
  • Supports real-time vehicle data readings, including battery status
  • Supports ISO 11898 CAN, ISO 14230-4 KWP 2000, ISO 9141, SAE J1850-10.4, and SAE J1859-41.6 protocols
Specification
  • Brand Autophix
  • Model 3210
  • Weight 3.2 ounces
PROS

Android, iOS, and Windows compatible

Free OBD Mate app

Provides battery data readings

The app includes an integrated Google search function and multi-language support

CONS

Only works with the OBD Mate app

iOS updates have caused app issues

Best OBD2 Bluetooth Adapters Buying Guide & FAQ

Once upon a time, the idea of putting a computer into any vehicle (other than to tote it from one place to the next) was a silly, even laughable idea. Today, however, computers are in everything. Since 1996, automotive computer systems have conformed to a specific standard, and thanks to OBD2 readers, scan tools, and Bluetooth adapters (with an app) have opened the door to a whole new world that was once closed to all but a privileged few.

A car owner purchasing an OBD2 Bluetooth adapter is not unlike a pet owner becoming a veterinarian technician (except it’s much less expensive!). Knowledge is power, and the combination of an OBD2 adapter and a dedicated scan tool app is the key to unlocking the wealth of information hidden within your car’s computer system. So, don’t waste any more time getting to know your car to the best of your ability.

Why Do You Need an OBD2 Bluetooth Adapter?

An OBD2 Bluetooth adapter is an absolute must for anyone who cares about taking care of their vehicle(s). With a combination of your time behind the wheel and the critical data, an adapter can help you find, these little tools will help you keep a good pulse on your car and understand both its overall health and its unique quirks.

Knowing your vehicle’s baseline allows you to more quickly and more accurately determine when a mechanical issue starts to rear its ugly head. This allows you to address the problem before it becomes backbreakingly expensive. The data from your adapter’s scans give you a better sense of whether or not you can save some cash by doing it yourself. On the flip side, if a trip to the mechanic’s shop becomes an immediate necessity, the data from your scans will save you cash on diagnostic labor costs while saving your technician’s time and frustration while chasing down the problem. (Here’s a dirty little secret: mechanics hate wasting time just as much as you do.) While he may still need to run some diagnostics, giving him a head start will make everyone happier.

Of course, the gearheads among us will love an OBD2 Bluetooth adapter after pairing it with a performance-oriented app. Some apps are specifically designed for use at the track or on the drag strip, and the data they provide helps drivers get the maximum level of performance that they can from their vehicle.

  • Monitor your vehicle’s overall health
  • Save money on mechanical repairs
  • Monitor your vehicle’s real-time performance

Woman with OBD2 Bluetooth Adapter

Different Kinds of OBD2 Bluetooth Adapters

OBD2 Bluetooth adapters all perform the same basic function no matter which app users may choose to pair with them. That said, there are still a couple of distinct kinds of Bluetooth adapters. Such adapters are designed to work with mobile devices, mainly smartphones, and tablets, but there are a few that can do just a little bit more.

Mobile-Only Support

Virtually every OBD2 Bluetooth adapter on today’s market is designed to pair with smartphones and mobile tablets. A select few may even be compatible with smartwatches. (We have yet to find one specifically advertised as such.) As such, these mobile-friendly units are perfect for use on the go and in both amateur and professional contexts.

OBD2 Bluetooth adapters must be compatible with several different operating systems. With rare exceptions, these units will support operations with any Android tablet or phone, and while a bit less common, iOS-compatible adapters are still easy to find with only a little bit of extra searching.

Mobile and PC Support

While today’s OBD2 Bluetooth adapters are specifically geared towards mobile support, buyers may encounter the rare yet noteworthy unit that supports not only mobile devices but operates perfectly with a paired personal computer. Most often, this functionality will be applicable in a professional shop environment, although there are plenty of DIYers who would much prefer running diagnostics from a 15-inch screen instead of a 5-inch display.

Buyers looking for a Bluetooth adapter to pair with their PC should pay close attention to their computer’s specs before making any purchases. Many adapters are designed to be paired with a Windows phone rather than an actual PC, mainly because most computers still do not include Bluetooth as a standard option. As such, make sure your PC is Bluetooth-equipped before committing any hard-earned cash.

What to Look for When Buying OBD2 Bluetooth Adapter

An OBD2 Bluetooth adapter in the front console is a sign of someone who cares for their vehicle. When selecting such a device, however, make sure to invest the time and effort necessary to understand the apps capable of unleashing its device’s vast powers. Finding the right app before purchasing an adapter is critical to saving both your sanity and your bank account.

Also, take the time to understand your capabilities as a mechanic, whether professional or amateur, and use that knowledge to determine how you plan to use your new tool. If you know what you’re doing under the hood, consider purchasing an adapter with extra capabilities. If you have limited mechanical experience, consider using your adapter and app combination to save your cash at the mechanic’s shop. Your preliminary scan(s) can save your mechanic’s time and your money by giving him a diagnostics head start.

Woman Setting OBD2 Bluetooth Adapter In The Car

The Most Important Features of OBD2 Bluetooth Adapter

A little plastic fob with a little bit of circuitry inside may not seem like it would be packed full of important features, but in actuality, both the circuitry and its housing can have a huge impact on an adapter’s ability and on your pocketbook. Understanding features such as physical size and protocol compatibility are sure to save you some money, time, and frustration.

Adapter Size

Somewhat surprisingly, the physical size of an OBD2 Bluetooth adapter is a consideration worth the extra thought. For those who want a simple diagnostic tool for reading and clearing codes and who couldn’t care less about their car’s real-time computer data, the size will mean very little. On the flip side, those who want to squeeze the maximum amount of data out of the vehicle will need to consider several factors when purchasing an adapter.

Before clicking the “Buy Now” button, consider the amount of space inside your car. For those with larger cars, trucks, and SUVs, a somewhat bulky option may not be an issue, but in smaller cabins, a slightly smaller adapter could make all the difference. The specific position of your car’s data port is also a key consideration, as one that sticks out too far will make it easier to accidentally damage a larger adapter.

Protocol Support

Every vehicle manufacturer after 1996 uses one of five OBD2 protocols, each governed according to either SAE or ISO specifications. Most OBD2 scan tools and Bluetooth adapters will read all five protocols, allowing them to be used on virtually every car on the road.

OBD2 Bluetooth adapters in the price range of $20 and up will work perfectly with any of the standard OBD2 protocols, and while most adapters under $20 will as well, there are a few that may not.

On the flip side, the most expensive Bluetooth adapters will work with all standard protocols while also being able to read more proprietary protocols. These manufacturer-specific codes provide vehicle information that is outside the scope of standard OBD2 protocols, and as such, reading them requires a specialized adapter, driving up an adapter’s functionality and price as a result.

Battery Saver Mode

While this particular feature is an uncommon option, the battery saver mode available on a few OBD2 Bluetooth adapters can be quite a time saver. Sure, it takes only a moment, to plug an adapter into the port, but in the confines of even the roomiest of cabins, reaching that port can require a few gymnastics.

The battery saver mode on most adapters translates to a low-power or no-power mode designed to minimize or eliminate any drain put on your battery via the adapter’s output of a wireless Bluetooth signal. Most often, these adapters will include some sort of smart sensor which allows the device to “flip the power switch” using a timer and/or a sensor turns the “switch” back on as soon as it detects specific vehicle functions, such as the doors unlocking.

Best OBD2 Bluetooth Adapters FAQ:

They say that knowledge is power, and such is the case when dealing with automotive diagnostics. Even with all the available resources and your research, finding the answers to some questions about OBD2 scan tools can be a challenge, and Bluetooth adapters can be slightly more complicated. Here, we’ve answered a handful of common questions about these powerful diagnostic tools.

Q. What is the difference between OBD and OBD2?

OBD2 is the universal standard implemented on vehicle model years 1996 and newer. OBD is a collection of proprietary computer protocols used in the 1980s and early 1990s.

Q. Is it OK to leave OBD2 plugged in?

Usually, leaving an OBD2 adapter plugged into your vehicle will create a battery drain. That said, some adapters include battery-saver technology, preventing them from draining your vehicle’s battery.

Q. How do I connect my smartphone to OBD2 Bluetooth?

With older Bluetooth-equipped devices, you will need to manually pair your mobile device with the adapter. With Bluetooth-LE-equipped devices, simply pair your mobile device from the OBD2 app.

Our Top Pick

When it comes to Bluetooth-equipped OBD2 adapters, the VeePeak OBDCheck BLE takes the cake as the best overall option on the market. This tool works with all standard OBD2 protocols and both Android and iOS devices, allowing it to read and reset codes and provide real-time vehicle data for the vast majority of mobile technicians and DIY mechanics. Its compatibility with a wide range of popular third-party apps and its reasonable price makes it an excellent adapter choice.

Final Thoughts

The VeePeak OBDCheck BLE is an excellent, all-around Bluetooth adapter as it is well-priced, compatible with all standard OBD2 protocols, and syncs with plenty of scan tool apps. If cost is key, consider buying the Launchh Mestart OBDII Bluetooth Car Diagnostic Scan Tool, an Android-only option with comparable capabilities.

Sources:

  1. On-board Diagnostics – Wikipedia