Looking for a genuine Bluetooth, Wifi, or USB ELM327 OBD2 adapter for your car? Don’t buy any of them before reading this guide.
An ELM327 interface serves as a connector that lets you connect your car to computers, tablets, and smartphones. You can connect your vehicle to any Android, Windows, or iOS device with the help of an ELM327 adapter.
Let’s get started with the review where I will tell you the best choices of ELM327 interface today.
Table of Contents
Top 3 genuine ELM327 OBD2 Bluetooth Adapters Review
1. Bafx Products Bluetooth OBD2 Scanner
[for Android and Windows]
Most of the problems that arise in a car are in the sensors. BAFX is known to be a champ when it comes to sensor readings. It can read boost, speed, EOT, EGT, balance rates, RPM’s, load value, fuel Trim, DPF Temp, and throttle position. Apart from that, it offers many other basic features, too, including smog checks, CEL codes, oil temp, fuel pressure, air-fuel ratio, coolant temp, O2 sensors, DPF temp, fuel trim, and emission test. If you are searching for an OBDii Bluetooth scanner for Android that can perform a variety of features, BAFX is a good option.
If you want reliability and high-quality customer service, BAFX is for you as it comes with a long 2-year warranty, with a friendly support team happy to help. Customers have praised the team for their support! One said that the Android OBD2 scanner stopped working correctly after five years of use. He contacted Bafx, ran some tests, found some issues, and still replaced his code reader for FREE!
Another customer even had the owner of the company had phoned to check if the customer was satisfied! Now that is good service! BAFX can also be used on various other car models not just based in the US. I have seen many EU and UK users also commenting about the great functionality and performance of this OBD-II scanner, so overall giving you a more expansive range of testing. Many people have said that this handy little tool has saved them 1000’s dollars, allowing them to identify exact problems before going to a garage or workshop.
The only downside to this one is that it uses third-party apps, but it is not much of a disadvantage; there might be a little trial and tribulation until you find the app that works best.
2. VEEPEAK OBDCheck BLE Bluetooth OBD2 ELM327 Scanner
[for iOS and Android]
Veepeak OBDCheck offers many basic features and a few advanced ones as well. It is one of the most awesome iPhone/Android OBD2 scanners because of its ability to quickly read live sensor readings. The interface is very easy to use because it displays data in graphical form. Other than that, you can perform smog checks, customize the dashboard, and monitor several real-time engine parameters such as fuel usage, freeze frame, and also show a live route on a map. Some scanners are known to consume a lot of power and drain the battery quickly. It’s not the case of this Veepeak version because it operates on Bluetooth 4.0, known for using minimal power. The device might not have its own exclusive app, but it works like a charm when used with Torque Pro and OBD Fusion.
VEEPEAK OBDCheck BLE supports many vehicle connections, ranging from typical cars and light trucks to pickups and even hybrid and electric vehicles. It ticks off the durability as it works well for two years as if you’ve only had it for one day. The OBD2 adapter for iPhone also comes with a reliable support team. One person experienced bad connection issues with it losing connection frequently, so he decided to email the support team, who provided him with an update to the device itself. Since then, he has had zero problems; the device is fast and easy to use and works well.
If you are using BimmerCode as an application, check their website, as they will also provide you with a small discount buying this device. People report that it has an excellent interface and easy to use.
If your work consists of many different vehicles or you have a hybrid or electric vehicle, then VEEPEAK OBDCheck BLE is on the top of your buying list when it comes to Bluetooth OBD2 code readers.
3. Vgate iCar Pro BLE 4.0 ELM327 OBD2 Adapter
[for iOS and Android]
Vgate’s OBD2 fault code reader is one of the best companions any car owner can have. If you can’t figure out what is wrong with your car engine plug in the adapter and you will be able to identify issues with your car’s engine.
The plug-and-play functionality makes setting up the Vgate adapter extremely simple. The software is compatible with a large number of OBD2 apps which lets you get more functionality out of the device. The power-saving feature makes the Vgate iCar Pro an ideal device. All you need to do is plug in the Bluetooth adapter and forget about it. Setting it up is just as simple with apps available for both Android and iOS that you can use to operate the device.
- Real-time ECU sensor data
- Supports manufacturer-specific error codes
- Can display freeze frame data
- Compliant with all OBD2 and EOBD compliant devices
- Strong Bluetooth coverage
- Not for Windows fans
- Not compatible with Bimmercode
While you do have to pay a monthly subscription fee to use all of the premium features of the app, the professional software is definitely worth the investment. With guaranteed compatibility and a large number of functions, you do not want to miss out on the iCar Pro.
Top 2 genuine ELM327 WIFI OBD2 adapters review
1. Foseal WIFI car code reader
[for iOS and Android]
Foseal’s Bluetooth OBD2 Adapter is capable of reading error codes that may arise out of problems in your car. Users can monitor current sensor data and check for underlying issues before consulting a mechanic.
The high-quality adapter is compatible with all gasoline vehicles that support OBD2. However, diesel vehicles, hybrids, and trucks with 24V voltage or higher are not compatible with the adapter.
The Foseal adapter is compatible with Android and Windows devices but does not support iOS. You can use it to check engine coolant levels, oil temperature, air flue, speed, and other essential data.
- Over 3000 code definitions
- Displays current sensor data
- Erasable trouble codes
- Oxygen sensor voltage reading
- Vehicle speed monitoring
- Smooth UI
- Not compatible with iOS
- Low wireless coverage
- Torque Pro
The Foseal Bluetooth adapter is ideal for DIY mechanics and car owners alike. You can use it to monitor your car for any underlying issues that need addressing.
2. Vgate iCar 3
[for iOS and Android]
The Vgate iCar 3 is a best-in-class Wi-Fi adapter that supports not only most US cars but also European and Asian vehicles. With real-time engine data reading and a long list of visible statistics within the mobile app, iCar 3 is worth a look.
If you do not want to be scammed by shady mechanics, the interface can help you take a quick look at problems with your car. To top it off, the plug-and-play mechanic makes it straightforward for owners to set up the device with their Wi-Fi enabled phones.
- Plug and Play compatibility
- Supports a suite of third-party apps
- Can read thousands of DTCs and manufacturer-specific codes
- Compatible with iOS and Android
- One Year Replacement Warranty
- Not compatible with heavy trucks
- Wi-Fi coverage drops off at long distances
The iCar 3 is one of the best plug-and-play ELM327 interface adapters that allows you to diagnose problems with your car engine efficiently.
Best USB genuine ELM327 OBD2 adapters for PC laptop review
OHP ELMconfig FORScan
OHP specially builds this USB adapter for Ford, Mazda, Lincoln, and Mercury. The OHP ELMconfig Forscan OBD2 is one of the best adapters for Ford, Mazda, and Lincoln owners in 2020/2021. Even though the adapter is compatible with cars and light trucks only, it covers almost the entire lineup of all three manufacturer’s offerings in the industry since 1998.
Even though the ELMConfig Forscan OBD2 adapter does not support Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, you get a very consistent 500kbits/s of connectivity. The operating speeds are more than sufficient, making it one of the best USB adapters available right now.
The DIY diagnostic tool can be used to diagnose a large number of problems that are commonly seen in car engines. If you want to configure the as-built data of your car, you can do that as well with the vast customization features.
- Seamless setup with Forscan, FoCCUS and other popular software
- Compatible with all cars and light trucks from Ford and Mazda
- Access to all modules
- Supports all US models since 1996
- Live data management
- No Bluetooth or Wi-Fi Support
- Not compatible with heavy trucks
The OHP adapter is specifically geared towards the owners of Ford, Mazda, and Lincoln owners. If you own a car from any of the three listed manufacturers, you should consider acquiring an ELM327 interface by OHP for DIY diagnosis.
How to use an ELM327 interface
Although you may find some ELM327 interfaces that differ in shape, size, and design, they generally follow the same procedure for connection and use. Start by plugging your ELM327 adapter to your car’s OBD2 port.
From there connect the interface to your phone, tablet or PC. The older ELM327 adapters use a serial port but newer models use either Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or USB. Later on I’ll explain more about these connections and the pros and cons of each.
Make sure that the phone, tablet or PC that you’re using already has anELM327 app or ELM327 software installed. These are basically OBD2 apps or software that help you run diagnostics. I’ll talk more about them as well, so read on to find out how they work.
Once you have made those two connections (to the car and to your computer device) turn on the car (but don’t start it). Next, run the OBD2 application. Most ELM327 software will connect automatically or at least they will ask you to connect.
From there you can start collecting data from the ECU while viewing them on your phone or PC. Be sure to observe the LEDs on the ELM327 adapter.
The red LED indicates that the adapter is powered on. On the other hand, the yellow LED is referred to as Tx OBD. It flashes to indicate that there is data transfer from the ELM327 interface to the car’s ECU and from the computing device to the interface. When the green LED (also known as Rx OBD) flashes it indicates that there’s data transfer from the ECU to the interface. It also flashes when data are transmitted from the interface to the computer device.
ELM327 Basics: Everything about a famous type of OBD2 interface is here
What is an ELM327 interface?
Although ELM Electronics makes the chips that ELM327 devices run on, other companies take those chips and use them to make ELM327 adapters. Each of those adapters is what is called an ELM327 interface.
It’s called an interface because it acts as a link between a vehicle’s onboard computer (ECU) and your external computer (smartphone, tablet, or PC). With it, you can view real-time data from the ECU, run some diagnostics, and read/clear codes that are associated with the Check Engine Light.
Generally, an ELM327 scanner operates based on three sub-parts. The first is the ELM327 chip. This is an integrated circuit that’s rated at 4MHz. It is the brain behind the whole device onboard its purpose is to convert data from the ECU to a format that can be understood by modern computing devices.
The second sub-part is the set of electric voltage adaptors. Their primary function is to identify the various on-board systems of a car using their unique voltage properties. For example, an ELM327 scanner is able to distinguish the EVAP system from the fuel system using its electric voltage adaptors. They are usually given as protocols like CAN, K/L or PWM/VPN.
Finally, there is a set of voltage adaptors for PC. These ones make it possible for an ELM327 adapter to adapt its electrical levels to those of a computer device (PC, smartphone, or tablet). By doing so the adapter and the computer can successfully communicate.
What does it offer me?
I have mentioned from a general point of view that ELM327 allows you to view real-time data from the ECU, run some diagnostics and read/clear codes. I should add that as an OBD2 adapter, ELM327 works with a diagnostic app/software.
What you do is that you install the app/software on your smartphone/tablet/PC and use it as a diagnostic platform.The exact range of functions that you will get depends on the app or software you are using. I will talk more about that later in this post, but for now here are the most common functions of ELM327:
Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs)
As a bi-directional diagnostic tool, ELM327 allows you to read and clear generic as well as manufacturer-specific codes. You can view the definition of each code and determine whether the problem needs you to take the car to the shop or if you can handle it the DIY way. Note that when you clear ECU codes you can turn off the Check Engine Light (CEL).
In addition to codes, you can view PIDs and emission data. PIDs are graphical representations of sensor data. By observing them you can tell whether your car’s on-board systems are performing normally or if there’s an abnormality that requires your attention. Emission data, on the other hand, indicates whether the car will pass federal and state smog tests.
Diagnostic data is great for pinpointing problems. Live data, on its part, shows you the performance of your car. ELM327 provides real-time data that you can use to analyze things like engine performance and fuel economy. Here’s a list of the live data that you can view:
|• Absolute Throttle Position|
• Air Fuel Ratio
• Average Trip Speed
• Barometric Pressure
• Command Equivalence Ratio
• CO2 Emissions
• Distance Traveled Since Clearing ECU Code
• EGR Commanded
• Engine Coolant Temperature
• Engine Load
• Engine RPM
• EVAP System Vapor Pressure
• Fuel Cost
• Fuel Level
• Fuel Rail Pressure
• Fuel Used (trip)
• GPS Altitude
• GPS Latitude
• GPS Satellites
• Intake Air Temperature
• Kilometers Per Liter
• Miles Per Gallon
• O2 Volts
• Relative Throttle Position
• Timing Advance
• Transmission Temperature
• Trip Average MPG
• Trip Time
• Voltage (Control Module)
|• Accelerator Pedal Position|
• Ambient Air Temperature
• Catalyst Temperature
• Cost Per Mile
• Distance to Empty Fuel Tank
• Distance Traveled with Check Engine Light On
• EGR Error
• Engine kW
• Engine Oil Temperature
• Ethanol Fuel Percentage
• Exhaust Gas Temperature
• Fuel Flow Rate
• Fuel Pressure
• Fuel Trim Bank
• GPS Accuracy
• GPS Bearing
• GPS Longitude
• Intake Manifold Pressure
• Mass Air Flow
• O2 Sensor
• Relative Acceleration Pedal Position
• Run Time Since Engine Start
• Throttle Position
• Trip Average KPL
• Trip Distance
• Turbo Boost and Vacuum Gauge
• Volumetric Efficiency
You can log both diagnostic data and real-time (live) data to your phone, tablet or PC. ELM327 gives you the option to receive the data via Text file or email. However you prefer, you can share it with people who understand diagnostics better in case you need someone else’s opinion.
What Protocols Are Supported By ELM327?
ELM327 is not the only ELM interface around. Its predecessors, the ELM320, ELM322 and ELM323 are still very much available for purchase and use. However, the 327 version is the most popular because it supports all OBD2 families of protocols.
ELM320 supports only one type of protocols; the PWM. The same goes for ELM322 and ELM323 which only support VPN and KWP protocols respectively. On its part, ELM327 is fully compatible with all types of protocols.
More specifically, it works with CAN, KWP, PWM, and VPN. That translates to all OBD2 protocols. Here’s the list:
- ISO 15765-4 CAN (11 bit, 500 kbit/s)
- ISO 15765-4 CAN (29 bit, 500 kbit/s)
- ISO 15765-4 CAN (11 bit, 250 kbit/s)
- ISO 15765-4 CAN (29 bit, 250 kbit/s)
- ISO 14230-4 KWP (5 baud init, 10.4 kbit/s)
- ISO 14230-4 KWP (fast init, 10.4 kbit/s)
- SAE J1850 PWM (41.6 kbit/s)
- SAE J1850 VPW (10.4 kbit/s)
- ISO 9141-2 (5 baud init, 10.4 kbit/s)
- SAE J1939 (250kbit/s)
- SAE J1939 (500kbit/s)
To put it simply, ELM327 is compatible with practically all OBD2 cars that are made or sold in the US. So, as long as your car is not a 1995 or older model you may use an ELM327 adapter for its diagnostics.
What are the types of ELM327 interface?
There are three types of ELM327 Adapter: Wifi, Bluetooth, and USB
Up until 1996, car manufacturers had their OBD standards and protocols. Auto mechanics were forced to keep up with the latest trends in technology, which made diagnostics very complicated.
The ELM327 Interface lets mechanics perform diagnostics using cost-effective hardware. Having a universal interface helps mechanics address common automobile issues effectively.
Bluetooth ELM327 adapters are capable of transmitting radio waves between a car and ELM327-compatible devices. File transfers are hassle-free using Bluetooth, and you do not have to plug-in wires. Considering very little data is transferred using the ELM327 interface, data transfer speeds are not very relevant.
Most users prefer wi-fi ELM327 adapters, and you also have more options available for purchase. The technology does suffer from a significant issue when it comes to connecting to Android devices. If you want to use an Android device, you can’t stay connected to the internet when the ELM327 interface is in use.
If you own an Android device, your options are limited to Bluetooth adapters only if you want uninterrupted internet connectivity. iOS owners, on the other hand, can choose from either Bluetooth or Wi-Fi options. You always have the option of purchasing a wired adapter as well if power consumption is an issue for you.
Which operating system is ELM327 compatible with?
|Windows (PC) Software||Mac OS Software||Android App||iOS App|
|ELM 327 Bluetooth||✓||--||✓||✓|
Does it have any drawback?
ELM327 interfaces are generally cost-effective and easy to use. As a matter of fact they give fully-fledged scan tools a serious run for their money what with their ability to display handy data like codes, PIDs, live sensor data etc.
However, ELM327 interfaces don’t always make the ideal choice. For example, they must be paired with a smartphone or PC to work. If you would rather have a stand-alone scan tool then ELM327-based tools won’t be your favorite.
Besides, they only work with OBD2 vehicles. That locks out all car owners, enthusiasts and technicians who own or frequently work on OBD1-compliant cars.
So, we’ve walked through the basics of ELM327. Let’s find out the best ELM327 adapter for your car.
How do I pair my ELM327?
Start by plugging the ELM327 adapter to your car’s OBD2 port. Turn the ignition on without starting the engine. Go to your phone or tablet and turn Bluetooth or Wi-Fi on (depending on which of those the ELM327 interface uses). Search for the adapter and connect with your phone to pair. Note that the name of the adapter depends on its make and model.
How do I get ELM327 to work?
Make sure your car’s ignition is on. Pair the scanner with your computing device that has a diagnostic app/software. It will automatically communicate with the ECU and display diagnostic data via the app/software.
Can I upgrade my ELM327 version?
No, you cannot. If you want a newer version you have to buy a new ELM327 interface.
My ELM327 adapter’s power light keeps flashing and it won’t connect with my phone. What do I do?
The interface is defective. Return for replacement or buy a new interface.