You do not expect to run into many errors when buying a BMW, correct? But, in the end, these vehicles are machines, and things can go wrong.
Since every BMW is a complex system made of different clusters, issues with even a single problem can stop the vehicle from functioning as it should.
Fortunately, though, BMW cars do more than show you a red signal or a button. These cars come equipped with an OBD — which stands for Onboard Diagnostics.
Therefore, by connecting an OBD scan tool for BMW, you can understand what is wrong with the vehicle. But you cannot do it with a random OBD scanning tool.
So, you must choose one of the best BMW scan tools from the market. These tools do wonders from many perspectives.
First of all, you can connect these devices to the OBD port on your BMW car and wait for accurate diagnostics. Even if you are a regular car owner, this scan tool will give you some helpful insights.
On the other hand, if you are a technician, the right BMW scan tool can help you save a lot of time. In either case, you should pick the right one.
In this article, we have reviewed five of the best BMW scan tool options you have in the current market so that you can make an informed decision. We hope it helps.
Best BMW Scan Tool – Reviews & Buying guide for 2021
best overall: ANCEL BM500 Scan Tool
- Weight: 12.6oz
- Capacity: All System
- Material: Plastic
If you want the most accurate insights about a BMW vehicle made after 1996, the ANCEL BM500 All System Scan Tool for BMW is our first recommendation.
Instead of focusing on fancy features, the manufacturer has built an accurate and well-compatible scan tool for BMW.
Even if you are a professional technician, the tool makes it easy to conduct an overall health inspection of the vehicle.
At the same time, the device does not compromise the number or the types of errors it can diagnose.
- You can use this multi-system scanner from ANCEL to diagnose an incredible variety of errors. Using its OBDII connection, the device will check ABS, SRS Airbag, Transmission system, SAS system, TCM system, Immobilizer system, 4WD system, EKPS system, HVAC System, Window System, Headlight System, and Audio System. As you can see, the list goes on to be quite comprehensive.
- In addition to these, you can use the ANCEL BM500 All System Scan Tool for BMW for maintenance functions. PCM Clear Adaptation, Battery Replacement, Battery Evaluation, Oil Reset, Service Interval Indicator Reset, ETC Reset, Electronic Parking Brake Service, and CBS Reset. These features will help you know the data without paying hundreds of dollars to professional mechanics.
- The scan tool comes with intuitive controls and a crystal-clear LCD screen. This display panel shows various information according to the feature you are using. For instance, if you replace the original BMW battery with something new, you can use the scan tool to enter the serial number and complete the registration process. Similarly, the screen stays versatile throughout the usage.
- As far as BMW vehicles are concerned, the ANCEL BM500 All System Scan Tool for BMW offers best-in-class compatibility. You can use the scan tool with most vehicles manufactured after 1996. If you have one of the newest, say the BMW 8 Series G14 or G15, you can use this scan tool without issues. The device extends its compatibility to non-BMW vehicles if they have an OBDII port.
- Suppose you are a mechanic dealing with multiple cars from different makers and occasional BMW customers. In that case, you can use this accurate OBD scan tool to check some aspects of cars, such as the battery, engine check, read codes, I/M readiness, data stream, vehicle information, and the option to erase codes.
- Thanks to its low pricing, the ANCEL BM500 All System Scan Tool for BMW is a superb gift for anyone who owns a BMW car. They do not have to be a supercar enthusiast to benefit from the scan tool. As we said, the simple navigation system and the intuitive screen make this device an excellent solution for absolute beginners and professionals.
- Assisted battery replacement is an excellent feature found in ANCEL BM500 All System Scan Tool for BMW. Regardless of the make and model of your vehicle, this little tool can assist you throughout the process of removing the old battery and installing the new one. As we said, the intuitive control board comes in handy as well.
- It is not technically a drawback, but the scan tool does not have any wireless connectivity option. We would have loved to see something on that front. However, once you have gotten used to the chief User Interface, these connectivity options would not matter anyway. It is just that you will have to remember where the OBDII port of your car is located for the time being.
- More than the connectivity options, you would notice the lack of learning and calibration options. As you may know, calibration options on an OBDII scanner system can help you keep the vehicle in perfect condition. We must also mention that the machine comes with a 16-pin OBD port. If you have an older device with a 20-pin system, you cannot use this device.
You should buy the ANCEL BM500 All System Scan Tool for BMW if you need a comprehensive scan tool for your vehicle.
You can also consider gifting this device to someone who owns a BMW or a mechanic shop. This OBDII-based scan tool provides you ample information about the car despite its affordable pricing.
Even though the device works with non-BMW vehicles, only BMW vehicles can utilize all the diagnostics options.
Runner-up: Foxwell NT510 Elite
- Weight: 22.56oz
- Capacity: Full System
- Material: Plastic
If you think our winner pick does not have as many features as you need, you should check our runner-up recommendation.
If you are ready to spend more, the FOXWELL NT510 Elite Full Systems Scanner for BMW is the most comprehensive BMW scan tool in the market. The premium you pay for the product also reflects the build quality and control options.
Of course, all these features on top of the in-depth scanning options for a BMW vehicle.
- It is safe to say that the FOXWELL NT510 Elite Full Systems Scanner for BMW is a scan tool that every BMW owner will appreciate. As we said earlier, you can use the device to analyze the vehicle in-depth. You have several options when it comes to the service and maintenance sectors. So, it will have no trouble finding virtually any problem with the car.
- You can use the scan tool for Oil Service Light Reset, Electronic Parking Brake Service, Airbag service, Anti Lock Brake System service, TPMS reset/programming, Steering Angle Sensor calibration, and Diesel Particulate Filter Regeneration. We could list even more features, but the idea is that you can deal with various scenarios using this simple tool.
- Unlike our winner pick, the FOXWELL NT510 Elite Full Systems Scanner for BMW comes with various calibration features. In addition to the standard operations like battery registration, CAS reset, and transport model deletion, the bi-directional testing option on the device adds excellent value when you want to test and calibrate individual modules on the BMW system.
- Compared to the other BMW scan tools on this list, this product from FOXWELL offers a deeper brief of the vehicle. You can use the additional buttons on the device to go through lengthier reports and understand the issue before taking your car to a dealership/repair shop. When we count in the additional accuracy of the device, it is a blessing and confidence booster for most owners.
- You can expect extensive compatibility in the FOXWELL NT510 Elite Full Systems Scanner for BMW as well. In addition to BMW, Rolls Royce, and MINI vehicles between 1987 to 2021, the OBD scan tool will work fine with many other models. The cars need to support OBDI, OBDII, or EOBD, which would not be difficult to find.
- We also noticed that this OBD2 code reader is well-built to the core. Thanks to the external coating, the product can withstand challenging environments with ease. After all, you will find it easy to set it up with an old or messy BMW. You get a good warranty and best-in-class after-sales tech support from the manufacturer.
- A remarkable feature we loved in the FOXWELL NT510 Elite Full Systems Scanner for BMW is that it can work with 20-pin OBDs as well. You can purchase one of the adaptors from the official store and use the scan tool to diagnose problems with vehicles as old as 1987. We cannot say the same about its competitors.
- Despite our best efforts, we could not find any significant drawback. However, some user reviews mentioned that they found the scanning process very slow. Even though the report can provide sufficient information on almost all aspects of your BMW vehicle, you may have to wait for a few more minutes.
- There is also a minor inconvenience that we noticed. As you know, the FOXWELL NT510 Elite Full Systems Scanner for BMW will receive constant updates from the maker in the future. However, you need a Windows PC to update this. If you have a Mac, iPad, or other platforms, you cannot update to the latest version.
The only thing you should think twice about while buying a FOXWELL NT510 Elite Full Systems Scanner for BMW is the price and features.
You should check if you need the features that cost a good amount of money. If that part checks out, you can get this BMW scan tool without a doubt.
You are getting the best combination of performance, features, build quality, and compatibility.
Alternative: AUTOPHIX 7810
- Weight: 9.6oz
- Capacity: Full Systems
- Material: Plastic
If you want to save some money but do not want to miss advanced features, you should consider AUTOPHIX 7810 BMW Full-Systems Scanner as an impressive alternative.
Compared to other BMW scan tools we have listed here, this product will allow you to scan various issues. In the end, you will have a well-built scan tool at your disposal as well.
- Thanks to the powerful category of options in the package, you can use the AUTOPHIX 7810 BMW Full-Systems Scanner for options like CBS reset, SAS, ECM, DME/DDE, EPB, EGS clearing, oil light reset, battery management, and even DPF regeneration.
- This scan tool can also be used with an impressive variety of properly yourselfBMW, Rolls Royce, and MINI like our winner pick. If you have a vehicle made between 1998 and 2021, you can use the scan tool without hassle.
- You can use the device as a universal OBD scanner, as you can guess as well. You can use the device for reading/erasing codes, reading data stream, EVAP system test, vehicle information retrieval, and I/M readiness in this mode. You need a vehicle with OBD compatibility.
- On top of all these, you can use the AUTOPHIX 7810 BMW Full-Systems Scanner to take care of many sectors like engine, SAS, ABS, CAS, CBS, ADS Transmission, SRS, etc. Thanks to the intuitive display UI, you can understand what is wrong with the vehicle even before you take it to the workshop.
- As you can see, the AUTOPHIX 7810 BMW Full-Systems Scanner has limited scanning options. We noticed the lack of calibration options, which is a noticeable downside. It is problematic because you may find counterparts with these features.
- The build quality of the AUTOPHIX 7810 BMW Full-Systems Scanner is not so excellent if you ask us. You cannot expect this scan tool to last for an extended period. You would have to replace it in a couple of years.
You should get the AUTOPHIX 7810 BMW Full-Systems Scanner if saving a few dollars is important to you. The device checks all the essential boxes, but you cannot count on the device for calibration-based needs.
Apart from these, everything else is fantastic.
Alternative: Creator C110 Scanner
- Weight: 12.8oz
- Capacity: Full System
- Material: Plastic
If you think you need a simple BMW scan tool, we recommend checking out the Creator C110 Automotive Scanner for BMW. The product costs way less than our winner and runner-up pick but gets the essential tasks done.
However, you should not expect this package to be as comprehensive as the ones we have listed above.
- As we said, the Creator C110 Automotive Scanner for BMW is a modern system and has been made for a specific set of devices. If you have a BMW vehicle made between 2000 and 2013, you can use it for diagnostics.
- The manufacturer also adds that the device would work with 1 Series, 3 Series, 5 Series, 6 Series, 7 Series, 8 Series, X Series, and Z series from the carmaker. If you have one of these cars, you can expect a fully-fledged data stream through the scan tool.
- When it comes to service, the Creator C110 Automotive Scanner for BMW will scan the device for an impressive variety of options. DME, PDC, SPMBT, VTG, BZM, MJOY, AIRBAG, EWS, ABS, BIT, KHI, KOM, CCC-ASK, and CCC-GW are just some of the options.
- Despite the lower price tag and minimal features, you can upgrade the software for free. The company offers frequent updates to understand the correct error codes at the proper time. And these updates are available for a lifetime.
- You may have noticed that the Creator C110 Automotive Scanner for BMW does not have the most intuitive User Interface. You may need to spend a considerable amount of time before getting used to all the features.
- Once again, we are not satisfied with the device’s build quality. It looks and feels very fragile. If you are not careful, you might end up breaking the system. Also, you can use the scanner with cars with a 16-pin system.
As you can see, the Creator C110 Automotive Scanner for BMW makes a few compromises here and there.
But, if you are looking for a full-system BMW scanner that does not cost a fortune, this product will get the job done.
Alternative: Autel MS300 Universal
- Weight: 8.8oz
- Capacity: Limited
- Material: Plastic
As you can guess from the name, this is an available alternative for the BMW scan tools we have recommended earlier.
The Autel MS300 Universal OBD2 Scanner has been made for every vehicle that supports OBD2, and BMW vehicles are indeed on that list.
Probably the most significant advantage of going for a universal scan tool is that you can save a lot of money.
- The Autel MS300 Universal OBD2 Scanner costs only a fraction of what you would have paid for the BMW scan tools we have listed above. If you are getting started with mechanics and need an essential scan tool, it is a great decision.
- Despite the small size, the scanner can diagnose various issues with the vehicle. Of course, you will not have a full-system analysis, but that is okay. It is also important to note the error codes on display and interpret them.
- Unlike the other models, the Autel MS300 Universal OBD2 Scanner will work without a battery. So, you can connect the scan tool to your vehicle and wait for the codes. When they appear, you can cross-check the data with the catalog and confirm the diagnostics.
- As far as the cars in the United States are concerned, you can use the scan tool with any vehicle made after 1996. It is an impressive level of compatibility if you ask us. Of course, it means giving up the maker-specific features.
- Many users may find the Autel MS300 Universal OBD2 Scanner too basic. The system does not have a unique navigation system either. You have to use the Enter and Scroll buttons to control the entire device.
- When you get the device for a fraction of a coffee’s price, you cannot expect the device to last long. They are very prone to damage, and it may happen when you least expect it. So, you have to handle the scan tool with care.
We would not recommend the Autel MS300 Universal OBD2 Scanner to professional mechanics. If you have spent thousands of dollars on a BMW, you have better options.
Nevertheless, if you need a one-time-use generic scan tool, this product suits the description.
BMW Scan Tool FAQ
What OBD2 protocol does BMW use?
As you know, OBD2 protocols change over time. So, you need to know when your vehicle was manufactured to understand the OBD2 protocol in use.
BMW has used the iso 9141/2 for cars from 1996 to 2001, the ISO 9141/2, and KWP2000 for vehicles made between 2002 and 2006. For vehicles from 2007 to 2009, it was ISO 9141/2, KWP2000, and CAN.
How much does a BMW diagnostic cost?
Depending on the technician you approach and the region where you live, the average cost of diagnostics for a BMW may vary from $100 to $1000.
Because we cannot predict this amount, it is always good to have a do-it-yourself BMW scan tool at your disposal.
Do you need a special code reader for BMW?
As we have mentioned, BMW uses the brand-new OBDII protocol itself. So, you can use a generic scan tool to understand the problems. A BMW vehicle uses more complex systems than a generic car.
So, it is always great to have a unique code reader for your BMW vehicle so that you can find model-specific errors.
How do I read BMW codes?
Depending on the BMW scan tool you have, you may or may not need an external source. If the scan tool has a detailed display, it will show you information about the error in snippets.
However, base-level scanning tools will display only the error code. In that case, you have to check the documentation to understand what is wrong with the vehicle.
As you saw, the right BMW scan tool can diagnose an incredible variety of problems with your vehicle. The data you collect will also help you save money and time.
You can sometimes fix many issues properly yourself without paying hundreds of dollars at a repair shop.
If you use your BMW for many needs, the amount you invest in the scan tool can help you save thousands of dollars every year.