All car owners need to be aware that diagnosing an engine error code cannot be achieved with just any scan tool. Moreover, if you are using the wrong device, you risk doing your car more harm than good.
The story is no different for BMW cars, which have specialized software that can benefit from a specific BMW code reader to receive the data.
Therefore, if you’re a proud BMW owner, you need to equip your car with the best possible OBD2 scan tool. The problem is, though, that finding the right scanner can feel like a minefield.
I know that better than anybody. And to ensure you don’t have to go a long way, I want to make your search for a scan tool for your BMW a bit easier.
This guide will tell you everything you need to know about the latest BMW OBD2 scanners and how to pick a reader that is compatible with your BMW car.
- 1 Best BMW Scan Tool Comparison Chart
- 2 Best BMW Code Readers – Full Customer Reviews
- 2.1 1. FIXD™ All-system Diagnostic Tool – Editor’s Pick
- 2.2 2. FOXWELL NT510 Elite Multi-system Scan Tool
- 2.3 3. Latest V6.2 Creator C310+ Code Reader
- 2.4 4. AUTOPHIX 7810 OBDII Diagnostic Tool
- 2.5 5. Original Carly for Wifi OBD2 Adapter iPhone iPad
- 2.6 6. MAOZUA Latest V7.7 Creator C310+ OBD2 Scanner
- 2.7 7. iCarsoft i910 Diagnostic OBD2 Scanner
- 3 What Are Our BMW Scan Tool Review Metrics?
- 4 BMW Scan Tool Buying Guide
- 5 What OBD2 Protocol Does BMW Use?
- 6 Wrapping Up My BMW Code Reader Reviews
Best BMW Scan Tool Comparison Chart
Before I take you through the top 7 BMW diagnostic scanners, I want to first provide you with a snapshot of my top picks for the best overall, the best value, and the best affordable option.
|Best Value||Best Overall||Best Affordable|
4 / 5
4.3 / 5
3.9 / 5
|7.9" x 1.5" x 3.9"||1.5" x 0.5" x 1.75"||5.3" x 3.4" x 1"|
|Read and Clear All Codes||✔||✔||✔|
|Support I/M Readiness||✔||✔||✔|
|Oil Light Reset||✔||✔||✔|
|Full System Diagnostics||✔||✔||--|
|Recommended For||Professionals & DIYers||Professionals & DIYers||DIYers|
Out full list of reviews also includes:
- AUTOPHIX 7810
- Carly OBD2 Scanner & App
- Maozua V6.2 C310+
- iCarsoft i910
Best BMW Code Readers – Full Customer Reviews
1. FIXD™ All-system Diagnostic Tool – Editor’s Pick
If you are looking for a comprehensive but easy-to-use BMW scan tool, the FIXD™ Diagnostic Tool is the one for you.
For me, this is the best scanner around. It has everything you need from an OBD2 code reader, being able to diagnose over 7000 problems.
Using it, you will be able to:
- Discover the problem behind any check engine light as soon as it appears.
- Provide an easy-to-understand explanation for any fault codes.
- Receive a realistic estimate for any repairs.
I also love that it sends maintenance reminders. If you tend to forget your vehicle service visits, the FIXD™ will ensure you never miss one again.
The FIXD™ also features 22 advanced scanning options, including the ability to reset the oil light, making this code reader a valuable tool for every vehicle technician.
What I find exceptionally convenient about FIXD™ is how quickly it can connect to your smartphone (2 minutes on average). Once you pair it with your device, you will receive instant notifications about your car’s health directly to your phone.
This versatile system works with both Apple and Android, so there should be no connection issues.
|Dimensions||1.5 x 0.5 x 1.75 in|
|Operating System||Android, iOS|
Pros and Cons
- Affordable for everyone
- Compact size
- Can be left connected to your OBD2 port 24/7 for instant detection of any problems
- Provides realistic repair estimates
- Frequently offered with a discount of up to 50%
- Compatible with all post-1998 BMW models
- Requires paid subscription for advanced features
- Doesn’t support Windows devices
For me, there are no better options for BMW owners than the FIXD™ scan tool. It combines advanced features with usability, ensuring even aspiring DIYers can use it. I have used it for quite some time now, it’s yet to fail me. The only thing I find a bit too much is that you need to pay for a subscription to unlock specific features. Other than that, it’s a perfect BMW OBD2 scanner.Learn More
2. FOXWELL NT510 Elite Multi-system Scan Tool
FOXWELL NT510 is my second choice for a BMW scan tool. Indeed, if it weren’t for the price, I would gladly introduce it as my top choice.
If the slightly higher price doesn’t scare you, though, this scan tool will be an excellent choice for your BMW scanning needs.
This standalone code reader is very user-friendly, with an automatic startup that is activated as soon as it is plugged into the OBD port. You will not need to waste time connecting this scan tool to your laptop. For me, the calibration was near instant.
As for the FOXWELL NT510 features, I could easily read and clear all trouble codes from BMW modules. It can also quickly check engine lights.
That’s merely a start, though. What I find impressive is the list of advanced features this scanner can provide. These include oil reset, new battery registration, brake deactivation, DPF regeneration, and more.
The only problem I ran into was when I wanted to run a full vehicle scan. As efficient as this FOXWELL is, it can be slow to connect and run such scans.
|Dimensions||7.87 x 1.5 x 3.94 in|
Pros and Cons
- A user-friendly and durable scan tool
- Can be used as a standalone diagnostic tool
- Versatile and compatible with other cars including Mini and Rolls Royce
- Provides live data information
- Has OBD1 and OBD2 functions
- Older BMW’s with a 20 pin OBD connecter will require a 16 pin adaptor to work
- Can be slow to connect and run a full scan
For me, there aren’t many better scanners than the FOXWELL NT510. And that doesn’t apply only to BMW scan tools. It’s a fantastic device that will allow you to run all the necessary vehicle scans quickly and accurately. The only thing I did find a bit annoying was how long the device took to run a full vehicle scan. If you aren’t patient or require fast full scans frequently, it might not be the device for you.Learn More
3. Latest V6.2 Creator C310+ Code Reader
The Creator C310+ is the most affordable option on my list. Don’t let that trick you, though. Despite its low price, it’s an exceptional BMW OBD2 scanner.
It’s easy to use, allowing you to check and clear all engine trouble codes, making it an essential car scan tool to have in your pocket. I also like its clear LCD screen, which makes using this device much more convenient.
Of course, due to its price, I didn’t expect any extraordinary advanced features. It’s a simple OBD2 scanner that will allow you to detect engine warning lights, ABS problems, and airbag faults.
That said, this BMW scan tool might not offer all the advanced functions that a specialist technician requires. However, it is reliable at detecting engine faults. It can also display live data and easy-to-read graphs, which few other scan tools offer.
|Dimensions||5.31 x 3.35 x 1.02 in|
Pros and Cons
- Easy to use and set up
- Very affordable
- High quality 2.8 inch LCD screen
- Will read and clear all engine trouble codes
- Unable to perform advanced programming features
- Needs an additional adaptor for use in older BMW models
If you’re looking for a cheap OBD2 scanner for your BMW, the Creator C310+ is, in my opinion, the best choice around. It’s a great tool that comes with all the basic features you might want from an OBD2 scan tool. That’s the key word here, though, “basic.” If you’re a more experienced DIYer or a professional mechanic, this is not a device for you.Learn More
4. AUTOPHIX 7810 OBDII Diagnostic Tool
Many professionals I know recommend the AUTOPHIX 7810 as the best BMW OBD2 scanner. Did it live up to my expectations? Yes and no.
On one hand, it can perform all functions rapidly and efficiently. It allowed me to manage my battery, check the important systems (engine, ABS, airbag, brake, etc.), and perform a CBS reset.
On the other hand, I did expect more from it. For this price, I’d expect it to have more advanced features. I was a bit disappointed when it came to that, but if you like your OBD2 scanner to be basic and efficient, the AUTOPHIX 7810 should be enough.
|Dimensions||3.5 x 1.2 x 6.5 in|
Pros and Cons
- A powerful scanner that is fast to diagnose problems
- Large clear screen
- Compatible with a wide range of BMW cars
- Unable to perform certain advanced functions
What sets the AUTOPHIX 7810 apart from all other BMW scan tools is the power it offers. The AUTOPHIX 7810 rapidly completes its scans, often before other devices have had the chance to turn on. This scanner is guaranteed to save you precious time. It’s also compatible with all BMW models made between 1998 and 2017. However, for this price, I expected it to have more advanced features. It’s a great scanner for basic checks. For more advanced needs, you might want to look elsewhere.Learn More
5. Original Carly for Wifi OBD2 Adapter iPhone iPad
Carly for BMW is one of the most reliable Scan Tools for BMW vehicles
If you are looking for a simple OBD2 scan tool to check your engine error codes, then this Original Carly WiFi Adapter is an unusual yet excellent option.
It is a simple BMW scan tool with no additional equipment needed other than your phone containing the downloaded OBD app. Using the basic app, you can investigate a check engine light warning by reading any error codes.
The only limitation with this Original Carly for BMW is that you need to pay to upgrade the app. This will enable you to access advanced features, reset engine codes, and allow you to see diagnostic data.
Having used both, I have to say that the basic option is very limited. Once I upgraded the app, though, I was able to run some really advanced diagnostics quickly and conveniently.
The problem is the price. Although it’s not the most expensive option around, you will have to reach deep into your pocket to unlock all features this OBD2 scanner offers.
|Operating System||iOS and Android|
Pros and Cons
- Straightforward to use
- No extra equipment or devices needed
- The app frequently performs software updates
- Can also be used for BMW bikes if you have the correct adaptor
- Hidden expenses within the app
- The basic app only allows you to view engine codes
The Carly for BMW is a great basic OBD2 scanner for BMW owners. Its versatility makes it the ideal product for DIY mechanics who want a reader that can be compatible with other popular car models. However, there’s a catch. If you want to unlock its features, you need to upgrade the app, which is relatively expensive as it is. If you value convenience, though, there aren’t many better options around.
6. MAOZUA Latest V7.7 Creator C310+ OBD2 Scanner
The MAOZUA V7.7 Creator C310+ is a very functional, cheap, OBD2 scanner that is perfect for reading and clearing all dashboard error codes.
I found it exceptionally easy to use, making it a great tool for aspiring DIYers. Using it, I could quickly read and clear all engine trouble codes and run ABS, SRS, and airbag checks.
I also love the fact that this BMW scan tool comes with complimentary software patches ensuring it can be used with future cars. In short, you can be certain that this MAOZUA V7.7 Creator C310+ will have plenty of future use.
However, for me, the highlight of the MAOZUA Creator C310+ is its ability to produce detailed live data graphs that will give you valuable information on your car’s health and can help you get a clear picture of your car’s performance.
On the other hand, it does lack some of the more advanced features. It may also require an additional adaptor for older BMW models. Other than that, it’s a great basic OBD2 scanner for your BMW.
|Dimensions||9.25 x 2.36 x 5.71 in|
Pros and Cons
- Large display screen
- Very affordable
- Free software updates
- Pocket-sized device
- Needs an additional cable for use in older models
- Limited advanced functions
Overall, this MAOZUA OBD2 scanner is a great option for inexperienced DIYers looking for a convenient and easy-to-use scan tool for their BMW. It’s a good all-around simple BMW scan tool that performs. However, I find its lack of more advanced options a bit disappointing. For this price, though, you will struggle to find a better device.Learn More
7. iCarsoft i910 Diagnostic OBD2 Scanner
Last, but not least, I present to you the iCarsoft i910. However, don’t let its position on my list deceive you. The iCarsoft isn’t worse than its counterparts above. On the contrary, it’s one of the best BMW OBD2 scanners around.
It comes with a full list of basic and advanced features that all technicians (including yours truly) and BMW will find invaluable.
As you would expect from an OBD2 code reader, the iCarsoft i910 can scan most systems and read and clear all fault codes. However, as mentioned, this diagnostic scan tool comes with many other advanced uses too.
Some of these I found exceptionally useful, including detecting all trouble codes, testing the O2 sensors, checking tire pressure, or performing an I/M readiness emissions test.
I also love the real-time data functions supported by features allowing you to freeze specific data frames. The device itself, however, can be slightly complicated to use, especially if you’re new to OBD2 scanners.
|Dimensions||3.2 x 0.8 x 5.2 in|
Pros and Cons
- Great selection of advanced functions
- Highly compatible
- Able to live stream data and freeze frame information
- Pocket-sized and compact
- Might not support certain models produced before 1997
- Non-experienced DIYers may find it difficult to use
If you’re looking for an advanced BMW OBD2 scanner that won’t ruin your budget, the iCarsoft i910 is a great choice. Personally, I loved using it. It comes with a range of advanced options, including live data features. It is, however, dedicated to more experienced technicians and DIYers. If you’re a beginner, this device might be a bit too much.Learn More
What Are Our BMW Scan Tool Review Metrics?
Every review we do on this site has to be held against some measurable criteria in order to make sure we’re evaluating all products the same way. For this review, I looked at each scan tool with an eye for the following.
Compatibility – These scan tools must be compatible with all modern BMW vehicles. Since I’m addressing a specific make, I tried to choose tools that work best with BMW cars.
Functionality – Not all tools are created equally in terms of functionality. I looked at different features of the products and compared them against one another. If all the things are equal, pick the one that has the features you find more important.
Ease of Use – User-friendly products always score more favorably in our reviews. We know that many people reading this are DIYers or new to automotive maintenance. These tools should be easy to operate with as little friction as possible.
Reliability – I took into account the reliability of the readings themselves as well as the physical components used to make these tools. Your scan tool should be able to stand the test of time and be accurate when you need it to be. Value – If you read my reviews, you know I’m not a bargain hunter. However, if the two tools are equal, I’ll always recommend the more affordable option. Who doesn’t like a deal?
BMW Scan Tool Buying Guide
When choosing your BMW scanner, you need to make sure that it fits all of your requirements. Otherwise, that expensive code reader won’t be fit for its purpose.
My piece of advice would be to ask yourself the following questions:
- What is my budget?
- What features are essential, and are there any I should avoid?
- How difficult is the scan tool to operate and set up?
- Is the scan tool compatible with all of my cars and any future cars I may be planning to buy?
- Is the scan tool practical for my needs? Is it the right size and weight for me to carry, and is the screen a useful size for me to read?
Even within the BMW range, different scanners will be compatible with different car models. This makes compatibility the number one consideration when choosing the best BMW scan tools.
When choosing your scanner, you need to ensure it can read the specific BMW software because many generic OBD2 readers are unable to function with BMW cars.
Year of manufacture
You need to consider the year your car was manufactured. Cars made after 1995 will have OBD2 capacity. However, some of these older cars will use a different 20-pin connector to the 16-pin port that is used today. This means you will need an adaptor to enable your code reader to work.
Cars manufactured before 1995 will have OBD1 capability. For these cars, you will need a BMW code reader that can convert to reading OBD1 information.
Certain scanners might also have problems running particular advanced functions with specific car models.
To avoid any issues with your new scan tool, make sure that you have checked the compatibility of the scanner to ensure all the basic and advanced options will work with the car brands your own.
All BMW scan tools will be able to read and clear engine trouble codes caused by engine problems. However, as I covered in my reviews, all BMW-specific scanners will vary in their specifications.
Some basic scanners are limited to only performing the engine scan, but many others will feature useful additional extras.
Some more advanced devices, like the FOXWELL NT510, will be able to perform a full system check across all of the car’s systems. This will enable error codes relating to other systems to also be detected.
More expensive scan tools will be able to perform additional functions. These are generally aimed at car technicians and experienced BMW car owners who like to carry out their own DIY vehicle repairs.
Additional functions may include:
- Oil service light reset
- Reprogramming of systems
- New battery registration
You may also want to pick up a TPMS reset tool as many scanners don’t support this function.
If you need to be able to receive information about error codes and send back reprogramming instructions at the same time, then you need an OBD2 scan tool with bi-directional control. This allows the tool to send two-way data between the car and the device.
Before starting your search for the best BWM scan tool, you need to know your budget and the functions you need your reader to have.
The cheapest scanners will be able to accurately perform a basic engine scan. But they will only have very few additional features, if any. However, this is often a perfectly adequate tool for most car owners.
As scanners become more expensive, they will often have many exciting extra features. In this case, you need to know which functions are essential and try to avoid buying a scanner just because it has all of the latest gadgets.
Ultimately, if you buy a BMW code reader that meets your requirements, then you are certain to save money. The right OBD2 scan tool can save you trips to the vehicle repair center and enable you to pick up any engine trouble early before serious damage can occur.
What OBD2 Protocol Does BMW Use?
BMW cars have specific OBD2 software, which means that you need to ensure that the OBD2 scan tool you are using is compatible. However, you usually don’t need to know the OBD2 protocol that your BMW uses to get the information you need to know about your car.
If you do need to find out which OBD2 protocol your BMW uses, there are two ways to find out.
Firstly, check the BMW protocols below.
- 1996-2001 – ISO 9141/2
- 2002-2006 – ISO 9141/2 KWP 2000
- 2007-2009 – ISO 9141/2 KWP 2000 CAN
Secondly, check the connector pin.
Have a look at the connector pin to see which pins are in use and which are the empty sockets. This will give you an idea of the protocol that your vehicle uses, though you will need a guide to tell you the function of each pin. This pattern can then be used to work out the OBD2 protocol.
Wrapping Up My BMW Code Reader Reviews
Ultimately, you must ensure that you choose a BMW scanner that is capable of fitting your requirements.
It is no good buying a cheap basic scanner that does not have the functions needed to complete a complicated job. However, it is also not worth buying the most comprehensive BMW diagnostic tool if this is your first OBD2 reader and you only need to clear a trouble code.
At the end of the day, if you buy a good BMW scan tool, then it will save you valuable time and money by quickly picking up any problems with your vehicle.
All the BMW OBD2 scanners I recommend in this guide are certain to perform. That I can assure you. What I hope for is that I’ve armed you with the knowledge necessary to make the best choice.