What's the best OBD II reader for Android? Here's a few to get you started!
Car repair can be costly (duh!) and that Check Engine light could mean myriad issues with your car. Or, it could be a simple fix that you could do yourself — so why take it to your dealer or mechanic without knowing the problem first? Some places will charge you $100 or more just for the scan.
Don't get swindled again. Get yourself your very own Bluetooth OBD II reader/scanner and figure out what's wrong with your car, right on your phone or tablet!
- BAFX Products 34t5
- Panlong Car Diagnostic scanner
- ScanTool OBDLink LX
- iSaddle Super Mini
- BlueDriver professional OBD2 scanner
- Automatic PRO AUT-350
- Carista OBD2 scanner
BAFX Products 34t5
The BAFX Products 34t5 claims to work on all vehicles in the U.S. from 1996 or later, so chances are that if you're driving, this will work with your vehicle. All you need is a third-party app (which range from free to rather expensive paid apps), and you can connect the 34t5 to your Android phone or tablet to read out diagnostic information.
While reading out diagnostic codes, you can even clear them out at will, thus turning off your check engine light – even for manufacturer-specific codes!
Depending on the third-party app your choose, you can get real-time sensor information right on your phone, life speed, balance rates, RPM, O2 readings, and lots more.
If you feel the need for speed, this reader will even send you ⅛, ¼, ½, and 1 mile times.
Don't spend $100 just for someone to scan your car; spend about $22, read it yourself, and maybe you'll even be able to fix it on your own!
Panlong Car Diagnostic scanner
Panlong's small OBD II scanner is perfect for the do-it-yourselfer on a budget – you can find it on Amazon for around $11.
This reader will work on any car sold in the U.S. from 1996 or later – it just might not work with some hybrids. All you need is a third-party app, like Torque or DashCommand and you'll be able to read and clear trouble codes, while receiving real-time data readings – and you'll be able to turn off that damn Check Engine light!
If inexpensively is the way you like to maintain your vehicle (who doesn't?), then opt for the Panlong scanner.
ScanTool OBDLink LX
The ScanTool OBDLink LX is a professional-grade OBD II reader that features its own app, which allows you to scan, read, and clear trouble codes in all cars sold in the U.S. since 1996 (except hybrid or electric vehicles).
All you have to do is plug it in, pair it with your phone, open the app, and you'll see real-time diagnostic data, as well as information about performance.
You can even use your Windows PC to access and compile your information without ever having to see a mechanic. Fix the stuff you can fix yourself and only take it in when absolutely necessary.
Being a professional tool, the OBDLink LX claims to service a wider range of vehicles, given more complex algorithms, and the Amazon reviews seem to agree.
It may be about $55, but if you love your car and worry that the cheaper readers might not actually do the trick, then check out the OBDLink LX. $55 is better than the $100 the dealers will charge you!
iSaddle Super Mini
The iSaddle Super Mini supports all OBD II protocols and works on just about every car sold in the U.S. since 1996 (except hybrid and electric), allowing you to diagnose what ails your vehicle to help determine whether or not it really needs a trip to the shop.
For Android users, iSaddle works exclusively with the Torque app feeding you diagnostics and performance data via Bluetooth.
If you're unsure about the DYI approach to car repair, the iSaddle's only about $14, so you really have nothing to lose if you want to try it out yourself. If you can fix the problem yourself, go for it, but you still have the option of taking it to your dealer or mechanic if you're out of your element.
BlueDriver professional OBD2 scanner
For $100, you'd hope this scanner would be professional-grade, and it certainly makes the cut, as one that's even used by mechanics. This one does a lot more than the average scanner, showing you recall information, dynamic data, and it even offers repair suggestions in its companion Android app. As Tom's Guide puts it, "BlueDriver is as close to a repair-shop diagnostic scanner as you can get for under $100."
Automatic PRO AUT-350
If you're looking for an OBD2 scanner that goes well beyond the others, then the Automatic PRO might be up your alley, since it also tracks your car in real time, is Alexa-, Nest-, and IFTTT-compatible, and uses a 3G connection. You get an unlimited, 5-year 3G subscription from Automatic, and this thing will even detect serious crashes and automatically alert emergency services. It's basically a total car monitor (yeah, it also diagnoses your check engine light problems), and at $130, that ain't a bad deal at all.
Carista OBD2 scanner
Carista wins the award for prettiest scanner on this list (not that it matters at all), and it's app is elegantly laid out and simple to use. The scanner does what you'd expect, but the OBD2 Pro app ($39.99 extra) is what really makes it shine, showing you airbag information, ABS data, and even showing you specialty codes for eight car makers.
The upgraded app also integrates with your key fob, allowing you to remotely control your power windows and other instruments. At roughly $40, the buy-in is about $80 for the full experience, but if you're looking for more than a basic scanner, it's worth it.
What do you use?
Do you read your car or truck's trouble codes with another scanner that we didn't mention? Do you read your own codes or just take your car to the shop whenever the Check Engine light comes on?
Let us know in the comments below!
Updated April 2018: Updated pricing and added the BlueDriver, Automatic, and Carista scanners to the list.