All BMW owners need to be aware that diagnosing an engine error code cannot be achieved with just any scan tool. If you are using the wrong device then it is an impossible task.
BMW cars have specialized software that can benefit from a specific BMW code reader to receive the data.
When it comes to choosing the best BMW scan tool for your car it can feel like a minefield, so we are here to help. We will direct you to the best products available and help ensure they are compatible with your vehicle model.
Our guide will tell you everything you need to know about the latest OBD2 scanners and how to pick a reader that is compatible with your BMW car.
How We Rated These BMW Diagnostic Scanners
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, we looked at each scan tool with an eye for the following.
Compatibility – These scan tools must be compatible with all modern BMW vehicles. Since we’re addressing a specific make, we tried to choose tools that work best with BMW cars.
Functionality – Not all tools are created equally in terms of functionality. We looked at different features of the products and compared them against one another. For example, if all things were equal between two scan tools, we’d recommend one that has bluetooth compatibility versus one that doesn’t.
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 – We 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 – We’re not necessarily bargain hunting here. We’re making a recommendation for the best tool, however, if two tools are equal we’ll recommend the more affordable option. Who doesn’t like a deal?
Now that you understand how we evaluate these tools, let’s jump into the rankings.
Best BMW Scan Tool Comparison Chart
We will take you through the top 7 BMW diagnostic scanners to help you decide which one is best suited to your needs. But first, let’s get a snapshot of our top picks for best overall, best value and best affordable option.
|Best of the Best||Best Value||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||✔||✔||--|
Want to read more about the whole 7 Scan Tools in the list?
Let’s dive into the details now and learn why these are the best BMW Scan Tools.
Best BMW Code Readers – Reviews & Comparisons
Carry on reading for our full product reviews. We will tell you everything you need to know about each of these BMW code readers.
- FIXD Scan Tool
- Foxwell NT510 Elite
- Autophix 7810
- Carly OBD2 Scanner & App
- Maozua V7.7 C310+
- Maozua V6.2 C310
- iCarsoft i910
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.
This scanner features refined hardware that can diagnose over 7000 problems. That’s more than any other ODB2 scan tool can offer!
- Discover the problem behind any check engine light as soon as it appears.
- This scanner will not present you with incomprehensible codes. Instead, it will provide an easy-to-understand explanation for any fault codes.
- Receive a realistic estimate for any repairs.
- The convenient maintenance reminders mean you will never miss a service 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.
Unlike other ODB2 scan tools, the FIXD™ will connect to your smartphone within 2 minutes. You will then be able to 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.
BMW car owners often worry about whether scan tools will connect to their vehicle. There is no need to worry about the FIXD™ because it is suitable for all BMW models built after 1998.
- 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%
- A very popular device so sells out quickly
The FIXD™ is a handy BMW scan tool that will instantly diagnose any engine problems and give you all the information you need to put them right.Learn More
2. FOXWELL NT510 Elite Multi-system Scan Tool
The FOXWELL NT510 is a versatile BMW scan tool that gives you valuable information about BMW-specific data.
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.
Calibration is near instant.
The FOXWELL NT510 will read and clear all trouble codes from BMW modules, and check engine lights with ease but this is only the start of this BMW diagnostic scanner’s abilities.
Advanced features included with the FOXWELL NT510:
- Oil reset
- New battery registration
- Brake deactivation
- Reset maintenance lights
- DPF regeneration
- Full system scans
If you have an older BMW model, then the FOXWELL NT510 will not let you down as it is one of the few scanners that is also compatible with models between 1987-1996 that use ODB1.
- A durable scan tool that is user friendly
- Used as a standalone diagnostic tool
- Versatile so is compatible with other cars including Mini and Rolls Royce
- Provides live data information
- Has OBD1 and OBD2 functions
- You might have to pay extra to use with other makes of car
- 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
The FOXWELL NT510 is a popular scan tool for BMW owners. It regularly features as one of the best BMW scan tools. This great-priced OBD2 scanner is full of advanced features and is easy to use, making it one of the industry’s favorites.Learn More
3. AUTOPHIX 7810 OBDII Diagnostic Tool
The AUTOPHIX 7810 is the professional’s choice as it performs every function rapidly and efficiently.
Save valuable time with this easy-to-use BMW scan tool every time you need to read and clear codes.
The AUTOPHIX 7810 is a handy scanner to own. While it does not offer many advanced features, it does have a comprehensive range of OBD2 diagnostic modes and offers full system checks.
- Battery management
- Electric parking brake check
- CBS reset
- Engine system check
- ABS scan
- Airbag system check
- DPF system check
- Injection system scan
- Brake system check
What sets the AUTOPHIX 7810 apart from all other BMW scan tools is the power this scanner 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.
This is also one of the best BMW scan tools for older BMW models as it is compatible with all models made between 1998-2017. It will even work with Rolls Royce and Mini vehicles too.
- A powerful scanner that is fast to diagnose problems
- Affordable device for professionals and DIY mechanics
- Large clear screen
- Compatible with a wide range of BMW cars
- Unable to perform certain advanced functions
The powerful AUTOPHIX 7810 is a fast and reliable BMW OBD2 scanner suitable for most professional technicians. Its competitive price makes it a popular choice for a first-time code reader.Learn More
4. Original Carly for Wifi OBD2 Adapter iPhone iPad
If you are looking for a simple OBD2 scan tool to check your engine error codes then this Original Carly Wifi Adapter is perfect.
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 Orginal Carly for BMW is that you need to pay to upgrade the app. This will enable you access to advanced features, reset engine codes, and allow you to see diagnostic data.
But once you have upgraded the app you will have a really useful device that is invaluable for all car diagnostics.
The Original Carly for BMW works with many car makes:
We recommend that you always check that this diagnostic scan tool is compatible with your specific vehicle model before purchasing. However, it is a useful scan tool to have if you want to use it on many different vehicle brands.
- Affordable as a first BMW scan tool
- 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 engine codes to be viewed
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.
5. 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.
It is compatible with all BMW cars made between 2001 and 2017 but it is possible to use this diagnostic tool on earlier 1997 to 2000 models by purchasing a 20 pin adaptor.
This BMW scan tool comes with complimentary software patches ensuring it can be used with future cars, so you can be certain that this MAOZUA V7.7 Creator C310+ will have plenty of future use.
Compared to other scan tools the Creator C310+ does lack some of the more advanced features. However, if you need a reliable basic code reader that is guaranteed to perform then this one is perfect.
MAOZUA V7.7 Creator C310+ functions:
- Read and clear all engine trouble codes
- ABS check
- Airbag check
- SRS check
The highlight of the 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.
- Large display screen
- Very affordable
- Free software updates
- Pocket-sized device
- Needs an additional cable for use in older models
- Limited advanced functions
The Creator C310 is a great-priced BMW scan tool that is reliable at reading every type of check engine light. This ODB2 scanner might be light on certain advanced functions. However, if you want a good all-around simple BMW diagnostic tool that performs then this scanner is a fantastic choice.Learn More
6. Latest V6.2 C310+ Code Reader
The VGATE V6.2 C310+ is a fantastic basic scanning tool for all car owners. It is effectively the same BMW diagnostic tool as the MAOZUA Creator 310 discussed earlier. They both offer very similar features.
Like the MAOZUA, The VGATE V6.2 is easy to use to check and clear all engine trouble codes, making it an essential car scan tool to have in your pocket. Users of this ODB2 scanner also love the clear LCD screen that makes using this device straightforward.
Functions the VGATE V6.2 offers:
- Detect all engine warning lights
- Engine oil light reset
- ABS problems
- Airbag faults
- Check stability controls
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.
The VGATE V6.2 can be used for all BMW models between 1997 and 2014, making it suitable for most BMW owners. However, for cars made before 2000, you will also need a 20 pin adapter.
- 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
There is little difference between this VGATE V6.2 code reader and the MAOZUA V7.7. We would recommend checking out both devices to discover your personal favorite.
The VGATE V6.2 is a sturdy mobile OBD2 scan tool that efficiently performs all basic engine checks for a range of BMW cars. It is a great choice for the price.Learn More
7. iCarsoft i910 Diagnostic OBD2 Scanner
The iCarsoft i910 is a BMW scan tool that is in a league of its own. It offers a thorough full system scan with advanced features that all technicians and BMW owners will find invaluable.
As you would expect from an OBD2 code reader, the iCarsoft i910 will scan most systems and read and clear all fault codes. However, this diagnostic scan tool comes with many other advanced uses too.
Functions that the iCarsoft i910 features:
- Detect all trouble codes
- Perform an I/M readiness emissions test
- Test the O2 sensors
- Test the EVAP system
- Tyre pressure check
- Key immobilization set up
The live data functions of this scan tool will allow you to analyze real-time data, with additional support for freezing specific data frames to analyze or compare at a later date. You will get a true picture of the health of your car with the iCarsoft i910 scanner tool.
This BMW scan tool will work with all BMW, Mini, and Rolls Royce cars made between 2005 and 2014. However, it may also be compatible with cars from as early as 1997, and the latest models but you should check with iCarsoft first before buying this reader.
- Great selection of advanced functions
- Can also be used for Mini and Rolls Royce cars
- Able to live stream data and freeze frame information
- Simple to use
- Pocket-sized and compact
- You will need to check compatibility for certain models
- Reviews report the instructions can be difficult to understand
Overall the iCarsoft i910 BMW code reader is a fantastic comprehensive tool that all BMW owners will find extremely useful. It offers all of the basic scan functions that you need to maintain your car’s health. It also offers some exciting, advanced options that make this a wonderful gadget to have close by.Learn More
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.
We are here to help you make the perfect choice when choosing your next code reader.
- What is your budget?
- What features are essential and are there any you should avoid?
- How difficult is the scan tool to operate and set up?
- Is the scan tool compatible with all of your cars and any future cars you may be planning to buy?
- Is the scan tool practical for your needs? Is it the right size and weight for you to carry with you and is the screen a useful size for you 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.
BMW specific software
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.
We also find that certain scanners will 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, after this, all BMW specific scanners will vary with 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 that 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.
BMW specific protocols:
- 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.
Final Word on BMW Code Readers
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, and enable you to quickly pick up any problems with your vehicle.