ELM327 Interface: Top 10 Picks Review

The ELM327 Interface is an adapter you use to connect your phone or laptop to your car so that you can diagnose problems in your car’s On-Board Diagnostics system or OBDII. With its latest improvements, the ELM327 adapter is making life easier for car owners and car professionals all around the world.

To start with, its accuracy is higher than any other diagnostic interfaces. Other simpler devices only diagnose limited problems such as resetting your oil interval. However, ELM327 provides a universal diagnosis for all OBDII systems. Hence, it doesn’t matter which manufacturer your car belongs to – with this adapter; you can keep up with various kinds of protocols.  

ELM327 Interface Mini.
ELM327 Mini Interface is one of the best Bluetooth ELM327 Adapters.
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What Functions Can ELM327 Interface Offer?

As mentioned above, the ELM327 Interface connects your device to your car, i.e. it lets you communicate with your car’s OBDII system. Like all other interfaces, it enables you to read and clear trouble codes so that you can turn off your Check Engine Light.

However, it can also tell you other things including your:

  • Engine’s RPM
  • Coolant Temperature
  • Air Flow
  • Air Temperature
  • Fuel Status
  • Long & Short Term Fuel Trim
  • Fuel Pressure

What Protocols are Supported by ELM327 Interface?

First, let’s quickly review OBDII protocols. OBDII systems have many different protocols. It depends on the model of your car, i.e. whether it supports a generic protocol or a manufacturer specific one. Consequently, your vehicle may have either a Type A protocol or Type B.

You can tell which one you have based on how it looks. They both have sixteen ‘teeth.’ However, Type A ports have two rows with 8 ‘teeth’ each and a ‘tongue’ in the middle while Type B ports have the ‘tongue’ divided into two parts.

These are the five most common OBDII protocols:

Protocol Where is it found?
SAE J1850 VPW This used by Ford.
SAE J1850 PWM This is used by Common Motors
ISO 9141-2 This is most common in Asian, Chrysler, and European cars.
ISO 14230 KWP2000 This is also common in Asian cars.
ISO 15765-4/SAE J2480 (CAN)This is relatively new. You can find this in cars manufactured after 2008 in the U.S.

The ELM327 adapter supports all of these protocols. If you didn’t find your car’s protocol among the top five, don’t worry. Here is the complete list of protocols it can support.  

ELM327 App: What are the best ones for iOS and Android Devices?

To use the adapter, you have to download either an app or software. If you are using your phone to connect to the device, there are many options for you in both iOS and Android apps.  

Best ELM327 Apps for iOS

1. Car Scanner ELM OBD2

Car Scanner ELM OBD2 ELM327 App.
Car Scanner ELM OBD2.
Credit: itunes.apple.com

While it works for most branded adapters, this app is designed explicitly for ELM327 adapters. The Car Scanner app is an excellent choice for iOS users because it offers a range of unique features.

It has detailed descriptions under each trouble code in its built-in library. Hence, it’s easy to use and understand.

It has many connector profiles, which means it will give you special features for cars such as Toyotas, GM, Opel, Nissan, Hyundai, Chevrolet, etc. Not only does it allow you to turn off your Check Engine light, but it also tells you when your car is ready for emission tests.

Moreover, you can get extend your PIDs and view information previously hidden by your manufacturer. You can also view your car’s sensor data in real time.

2. OBD Auto Doctor

 
OBD Auto Doctor ELM 327 App for iOS.

OBD Auto Doctor Screen Shot.
Credit: itunes.apple.com

The OBD Auto Doctor is great for reading trouble codes. It will report back any issues immediately and let you reset the Check Engine light. It has over 18000 trouble codes in its built-in database. You see all the information you need to be displayed in graphs in real-time.

You can use the app for many things, including pulling up your car’s VIN, monitoring fuel consumption, and viewing your emissions testing statues.

Also, the app lets you view the information in both English and Metric units, so you don’t have to worry about converting one from the other.

Additionally, you can even use the app to send reports via email. Click on the share option to send your diagnostic issues directly to your mechanic.

The app supports all OBDII as well as EOBD vehicles.   

3. DashCommand

DashCommand - OBD-II Gauges ELM327 for iOS.

DashCommand – OBD-II Gauges.
Credit: itunes.apple.com

DashCommand is very popular and for a good reason. You have a multitude of features at your fingertips. The app will not only read and clear your codes, but it will also keep track of your engine performance, fuel economy, and transmission, among other things.

It has a wide range of gauges that display real-time, easy to interpret data. You have gauges to check your engine speed, acceleration, fuel economy, coolant temperature, fuel pressure, air/fuel ratio, torque, and so on.

The best part is that you can customize your display to your preference. Hence, if you need to keep track of your fuel economy, you can keep that widget on your home page for easy access and viewing.

  Car Scanner ELM OBD2 OBD Auto Doctor DashCommand
Price Free with in-app purchases Free with in-app purchases $9.99
Compatible devices iOS 8.0 or aboveiOS 9.0 or above iOS 9.0 or above
Quick Start Guide Not available Available Available
Compatible AdaptersWifi and Bluetooth Wifi and Bluetooth Wifi, Bluetooth, and USB

Best ELM327 Apps for Android:

ScanMaster for ELM327 OBDII ScanTool

ScanMaster for ELM327 OBD-2 ScanTool  for Android.

ScanMaster for ELM327 OBD-2 ScanTool
Credit: play.google.com

With its advanced diagnostic software, you can turn your smartphone or tablet into an OBDII interface anytime and anywhere. Unlike others of its kind, the app offers a sophisticated Lite version. All essential diagnostic functions are available to you, finding and reporting the problem in record time.

The Pro version has additional features such as a more extensive library of trouble codes and more number of parameters. If you choose the Pro version, the app has an In-App billing function for your convenience.

You can keep records of your car’s data within the app. The ‘Pause’ and ‘Record’ function lets you save the data you want, and all you need to do is scroll and zoom. Moreover, the app is available for use in English and German.

inCarDoc ELM327 OBD2 Scanner Bluetooth/WiFi

inCarDoc | ELM327 OBD2 Scanner Bluetooth/WiFi for Android.

inCarDoc | ELM327 OBD2 Scanner Bluetooth/WiFi
Credit: play.google.com

Check and clear your fault codes and relevant freeze frame data with the inCarDoc app. This app is the prime choice for your ELM327 adapter. You can use other OBDII adapters, but for maximum functionality of the app, ELM327 is the best choice.

You can record and share your real-time data with the built-in log book. The app offers various parameters, including car speed, engine RPM, fuel pressure, oxygen sensors, and coolant temperature. Also, the parameters are displayed in graphs and charts, so they’re easy to interpret.

Furthermore, the app has a trip computer that monitors your car’s fuel consumption so you can keep track of your fuel economy. The app also has extra features including a built-in GPS parameter and a console mode for professional repair services.     

Torque Lite (OBD2 & Car)

Torque Lite (OBD2 & Car) for Android

Torque Lite (OBD2 & Car)
Credit: play.google.com

The great thing about the Torque Lite is that it’s so user-friendly. The app offers all essential functions, including reading and clearing codes. Check your engine performance, GPS speed, RPM, transmissions, etc.

Moreover, the app lets you export all your files onto Google Earth to map your data. You can log your data and upload it on different web servers. This allows you to share it directly to any mechanic or car dealership you’re looking to for help.

You can even personalize your dashboard with the theme and widgets. Hence, keep the sensors and gauges you need where you can see and easily access them.

However, for a broader diagnostic range, try out the Torque Pro as it has additional features such as horsepower and Turbo Boost gauge support.

 ScanMaster for ELM327 inCarDoc Torque Lite (OBD2 & Car)
Price Free with in-app purchases Free with in-app purchasesFree with in-app purchases
Compatible Devices Android 4.0.3 and upAndroid 4.0.3 and up Depends on the device
App Support Not available Available on the developer’s website Not available
Compatible Adapters Wifi and Bluetooth Wifi and Bluetooth Wifi, Bluetooth, and USB

How about ELM327 software for PC?

Alternatively, if you’re using a laptop, you need to download ELM327 software. You can quickly get free software for both Windows and Mac PCs.

Here are some examples.

OBD2 software For Windows:

FORscan

FORScan  ELM 327 for Windows.

FORScan
Credit: forscan.org

FORscan is a Windows software specific to Fords, Mazdas, Lincolns, and Mercuries. The app supports the manufacturer particular protocols for all these cars. It has a broader range of trouble codes and can detect even the smallest of blips that other OBDII diagnostic tools aren’t able to do.

You can use the software on all your Windows 2000/XP/Vista devices. The software is also compatible with Windows 7, 8, 8.1., and 10. Moreover, it doesn’t matter what kind of connection you need as it supports all USB, Wifi, Bluetooth, and COM adapters.

The app’s primary functions are to run diagnostic tests, read sensor data, and run service repairs. It can display trouble codes and PIDs that are typically hidden in OBDII scan tools.

However, you need to be sure the ELM327 you have isn’t a clone because FORscan only supports the original ELM327 chip.

EngineCheck

Check Engine ELM327
EngineCheck
Credit: enginecheck.co.uk

This is a secure software for all home and workshop users. You can test it out for a one-month free trial. The developer’s website offers details, FAQs, and video demonstrations on how to download and use the software. You can even contact them for additional support.

The software lets you see live engine data. It is up to you whether you want the data displayed in a meter or graphical form. The software can also save this data into a diagnostic report in different file formats, including CSV and jpeg.

Moreover, you can record and playback real-time sensor data. The software is compatible with all Windows XP, 2000, and Vista. You can use the software for all European petrol and diesel cars manufactured after 2001 and 2004 respectively.

Freediag

Freediag ELM327
Freediag
Credit: freediag.sourceforge.net

Freediag is an OBDII scan tool specifically catering to Windows and Linux devices. Also, it has several manufacturer-specific protocols, including Mercedes Benz, VW, and Nissan, and it supports all Wifi, Bluetooth, and USB interface types.

The software performs all basic OBDII scan tool functions; it runs tests, erases codes, shows you sensor data, and so much more.

However, to help you learn, the developer’s website has a user manual and extra information about your car’s interface, which you can obtain for free.

This information includes the types of interfaces supported by Freediag, a diagram explaining the specifications on different protocols, etc. All this is to help you understand the kind of OBDII interface you have, how to use the various features of the software, and more.

OBD2 Software for For Mac iOS:

Goserial

Goserial ELM 327 for iOS.
Goserial
Credit: furrysoft.de

Goserial is an ideal OBD2 software for Mac users. It has high-performance functions that let you diagnose car problems in no time. The software supports Mac OS 10.4 and above. You can use any iOS supported port to use the software.

You can use the open the software on multiple connections at the same time. The software lets you convert and share large files. You’ll be able to send files via text or email using your laptop’s function keys.

For additional software and app suggestions, visit this website. It lists out many more great options for all iOS, Android, Windows, Linux, and Mac users.

ELM327 Wifi vs ELM 327 Bluetooth vs ELM327 USB

There are three main types of ELM327 adapters: Wifi, Bluetooth, and USB. They all have their pros and cons.

WiFi Bluetooth USB
Expensive Relatively cheap Relatively cheap as no wireless radio is needed
Can connect to more than one device at a time Can connect to more than one device at a time Can connect to one device at one time
Wireless Wireless Needs cable
Compatible with all devices Compatible with all devices except iOSCompatible with all devices

If you look online, you’ll find many different choices for ELM327 scanners. It’s tough deciding which one’s the best for you out of all the options out there.

Hence, here are our picks for the best ELM327 adapters.

ELM327 WiFi Adapters:

1
Foxwell WF601 WiFi ELM327 OBD2 Adapter for iPhone, iPad & Android

FOXWELL FW601
Foxwell WF601 WiFi ELM327 OBD2 Adapter for iPhone, iPad & Android
4.14.1 / 5
The Foxwell WF601 Wifi adapter works on most OBD2 compliant models. Its main features include reading and erasing trouble codes.

Why Buy this ELM327 Interface?

The Foxwell Wifi adapter works on most OBD2 compliant models. Its main features include reading and erasing trouble codes. Also, trouble codes can be generic, manufacturer specific, or pending – it doesn’t matter.

It will also conduct onboard monitoring tests such as emission tests. The adapter can also display sensor data including your engine RPM, coolant temp., vehicle speed, air temp., oxygen sensor voltage, and so on.

Moreover, the adapter supports all iOS and Android devices, including tablets, smartphones, and computers.

Compatible Apps: OBD Auto Doctor for iOS, OBD Auto Doctor for Android

Pros

  • One year warranty
  • Low cost
  • Supports multiple devices
  • User guide available
  • Customer support available

Cons

  • Does not support all OBD2 models
  • Users cannot use Bluetooth apps simultaneously


2
Vgate iCar2 WiFi Interface for iPhone, iPad, and Android

 <br>Vgate WiFi iCar2 OBDII 
Vgate iCar2 WiFi Interface for iPhone, iPad, and Android
4.14.1 / 5
It has a long list of parameters fuel consumption, fuel trim, mass air flow, barometric pressure, air intake, throttle position, and so on.

Why Buy this ELM327 Interface?

The Vgate iCar2 diagnoses and erases your car troubles. It has a long list of parameters fuel consumption, fuel trim, mass air flow, barometric pressure, air intake, throttle position, and so on.

However, the best part about the Vgate iCar2 is its Auto sleep function. Hence, you don’t have to worry about plugging and unplugging it. Just connect it once, and it will turn on and off by itself. Also, it won’t drain your car battery and save you lots of precious time.

It supports all US, European, and Asian OBD2 vehicles, including light trucks.

Compatible Apps: Vgate’s Accurate for iOS app, Torque Lite for Android

Pros


  • One year warranty
  • Low cost
  • Free app available
  • Easy to install

Cons


  • Doesn’t support hybrid or electric models
  • Hard to find ‘on’ button

3
Wsiiroon Car WiFi ELM327 OBD2 Scanner for iOS & Android

 <br>wsiiroon Car WiFi OBD 2
Wsiiroon Car WiFi ELM327 OBD2 Scanner for iOS & Android
3.93.9 / 5
It will work on all OBD2 vehicles made after 1996 as well as newer petrol models. Its speed is much faster than other similar adapters.

Why Buy this ELM327 Interface?

The WSIIROON scanner supports nine OBD2 protocols. It will work on all OBD2 vehicles made after 1996 as well as newer petrol models. Its speed is much faster than other similar adapters.

It gives all the basic functions and parameters of a general OBD2 adapter. Its parameters include calculated load value, engine RPM, timing lights, fuel system status, etc.

In addition to standard functions, the adapter gives you reminders about emissions testing, over-speeding, fuel consumption, car temperature, etc.

Compatible Apps: DashCommand for iOS, DashCommand for Android

Pros


  • Customer support available
  • Low cost
  • Easy setup
  • User guide/FAQs available

Cons


  • Does not support diesel vehicles
  • Can lose WiFi connection sometimes

4
Gemwon ELM327 Wifi OBDII Wifi Adapter for Android and iOS

Gemwon ELM327
Gemwon ELM327 Wifi OBDII Wifi Adapter for Android and iOS
4.14.1 / 5
It has a range of diagnostic tests and gauges that give you real-time data.

Why Buy this ELM327 Interface?

Gemwon has a smart self-diagnosis function. It has a range of diagnostic tests and gauges that give you real-time data.

For example, you can check your:

  • Engine transmission
  • RPM
  • Fuel trim
  • Calculated loaded value
  • Air intake temperature
  • Manifold pressure

Additionally, the adapter is supported by 12V petrol cars, including Mazdas, Hondas, Fords, BMWs, and Audis.

Compatible Apps: DashCommand for iOS, Torque Lite for Android

Pros


  • 18 months warranty
  • Low cost
  • Portable
  • Easy to install

Cons


  • Does not support trucks
  • The car must have 16 pin connector

5
Kobra WiFi ELM327 Interface for iOS, Android & Windows Devices

 <br>Kobra WiFi ELM327
Kobra WiFi ELM327 Interface for iOS, Android & Windows Devices
3.63.6 / 5
It offers you detailed definitions of trouble codes whether generic or manufacturer specific from within its DCT library.

Why Buy this ELM327 Interface?

This WiFI adapter offers you detailed definitions of trouble codes whether generic or manufacturer specific from within its DCT library.

You can enjoy a live feed of data directly from your car’s inbuilt computer. It can be connected to any iOS, Android, or Windows device. Hence, all you need is a stable WiFi connection, and you’re set to use the many features it offers.

Pros

  • One year warranty
  • Low cost
  • Durable
  • Portable
  • Full customer support

Cons


  • No instruction manual
  • Might need to restart sometimes
  • Bluetooth ELM327 Adapters:

ELM327 Bluetooth Adapter

6
Mestart ELM327 Mini Interface OBD2 Bluetooth Adapter for Android Devices

Mestart ELM327
Mestart ELM327 Interface OBD2 Bluetooth Adapter for Android Devices
4.14.1 / 5
It is suitable for EOBD and OBD2 cars, including Bentleys, Fords, Hyundais, Chryslers, Chevrolets, Saabs, Porches, etc.

Why Buy this ELM327 Interface?

This interface is suitable for EOBD and OBD2 cars, including Bentleys, Fords, Hyundais, Chryslers, Chevrolets, Saabs, Porches, etc. Furthermore, it requires no batteries, cables, or switches as it’s completely wireless.

You can find multiple diagnostic tests, including car transmission, engine speed, fuel trim, boost pressure, etc. Moreover, it has multi OBD2 protocol support. To find out the range of protocols it offers, click here.

Compatible Apps: Torque Pro for Android, OBD Car Doctor for iOS

Pros


  • Easy to use
  • Low cost
  • Free software available
  • Multi-protocol support

Cons

  • No warranty
  • Can malfunction sometimes with smartphones

DIY Bluetooth OBD II Mini ELM327 (Installing)
Credit: youtube.com

7
Foseal Bluetooth ELM327 OBD2 Scanner for Android and Windows Devices

Foseal OBD2

Foseal Bluetooth ELM327 OBD2 Scanner for Android and Windows Devices
44 / 5
It helps you remove spaces from your ECU responses, switch between variable and fixed in the CAN protocol, and run tests.

Why Buy this ELM327 Interface?

The Foseal Bluetooth scanner is an excellent investment as it performs multiple functions apart from reading trouble codes. To list a few, it helps you remove spaces from your ECU responses, switch between variable and fixed in the CAN protocol, and run tests.

These tests include smog, fuel economy, coolant and oil temperature, etc.

Compatible Apps: OBD Fusion for iOS, DashCommand for Android

Pros


  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • One year warranty
  • Easy to install
  • Recommended by certified mechanics
  • Low cost

Cons

  • Instructions are hard to read
  • Does not work for Fiat,1995 Ford Ranger, 2000 Sarum, 2000 Honda Civic, and so on

8
Vgate iCar Pro Bluetooth 4.0 ELM327 OBD2 Adapter for iPhone iPad and Android

Vgate iCar Pro Bluetooth 4.0 ELM327
gate iCar Pro Bluetooth 4.0 ELM327 OBD2 Adapter for iPhone iPad and Android
4.34.3 / 5
It helps you prepare for emissions testing, check your fuel system status and other freeze frame data.

Why Buy this ELM327 Interface?

Like the Vgate iCar2 WiFi, this offers the same unique functions except with Bluetooth connectivity. You don’t have to worry about your car’s battery as the Vgate Bluetooth 4.0 only needs connecting once, and it will turn on and off with its Auto Sleep function.

It helps you prepare for emissions testing, check your fuel system status and other freeze frame data. Also, it’s compatible with most cars made since 1996 in the U.S. and 1998 in Canada.

Compatible Apps: OBD Auto Doctor for iOS, OBD Auto Doctor for Android

Pros

  • Two-year warranty
  • Easy installment
  • Supports all OBD2 compliant protocols
  • Also supports 3rd party android apps

Cons

  • Relatively expensive
  • No user manual

Vgate iCar Pro OBD II Scantool, Bluetooth
Credit: youtube.com

ELM327 USB Adapters:

9
VINT-TT55502 ELM327 USB

VINT-TT55502
VINT-TT55502 ELM327 USB
4.24.2 / 5
The great thing about this USB interface is that you can use the VINT adapter to diagnose problems from different systems.

Why Buy this ELM327 Interface?

The great thing about this USB interface is that you can use the VINT adapter to diagnose problems from different systems. Hence, you’re not restricted to your OBD2 system. You can access all modules, including Airbag, ABS, climate control, and gearbox. 

Furthermore, the adapter allows you to modify ECU parameters, conduct a service reset, and perform a DPF regeneration.

Compatible Apps: Forscan for Android

Pros


  • Low cost
  • Supports all U.S. models including light trucks
  • Compatible with all Windows devices
  • Supports MS-CAN / HS-CAN via a toggle switch

Cons


  • No warranty
  • Does not support heavy trucks or hybrids


10
OHP ELMconfig Forscan OBD2 USB Adapter


OHP ELMconfig Forscan
OHP ELMconfig Forscan OBD2 USB Adapter
4.74.7 / 5
It is an excellent toolkit for DIY diagnostics because it allows you to access your car’s OBD system easily.

Why Buy this ELM327 Interface?

The OHP ELM adapter is an excellent toolkit for DIY diagnostics because it allows you to access your car’s OBD system easily. However, its main feature is that it enables multiple FORscan modifications.

These modifications include changing the Bambi mode, tire size, tilt mirrors, heated steering wheel, etc. It even allows you to disable your double horn honk and ajar door features.

Compatible Apps: FORScan for iOS

Pros

  • Easy to connect
  • Customer support available
  • Compatible with all OBD2 cars and light trucks
  • Supports all Windows devices

Cons


  • Relatively expensive
  • No warranty

FAQs

Here are some commonly asked questions about ELM327 adapter and their answers.

How Do I Pair My ELM327?

Plug in your adapter to your car’s OBD2 port and turn on the ignition halfway. If your adapter USB, then connect the cable to your phone/laptop. If it’s wireless, go to the WiFi/Bluetooth settings and connect the device to the adapter.

How Do I Get ELM327 to Work?

All you need to do is correctly connect your device to the adapter. It will automatically begin communicating with your car’s OBD2 system and display the information you need.

Why is My ELM327 not pairing?

If you have a Bluetooth interface, you can ask the seller to give you the pairing code. If all the default codes (including ‘0000’ or ‘1234’) don’t work, take the adapter back to the seller and get a new one.

How do I connect my ELM327 to my iPhone?

Use an iOS supported cable for USB adapters. Other than that, go to the WiFi settings, and you’ll find the adapter. The name of the adapter depends on the brand and model. Hence, you’ll need to check the packaging if you can’t find it.

Why isn’t my ELM327 connecting to my iPhone?

Bluetooth adapters aren’t supported by iOS devices, so make sure your adapter has a WiFi or USB port. However, if your adapter isn’t Bluetooth, consult this quick setup guide.

Conclusion

In sum, there is a lot to know about ELM327 interface, and we hope our play by play was helpful and informative. We strongly urge you to try out ELM327 adapters if you’re prone to car trouble. They help make life easier for all car owners everywhere and ultimately cut down on costs.

Read more: OBD1 vs OBD2: Definite Interpretation and Comparison

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