Carista vs. Carly – Best OBD2 Scanners of 2021

Having the best Bluetooth OBD2 scanner can give you access to your car’s health status and help you keep your car expenses under control! There are many great scanners you can use, two of which are the Carly scanner and the Carista OBD2 scanner. 

Bluetooth OBD2 scanners are extremely easy to use. They don’t require much equipment and can let you access your car’s information from your phone. 

With the right scanner for your car, you can save up to $500 per year on car repairs and maintenance. All without relying on a car technician!

Therefore, we will compare two of the most popular Bluetooth OBD2 scanners: Carly and Carista. And we will evaluate every feature to discover which is the best OBD2 scanner to buy.

Comparison Overview

Even though both options are within the same category of Bluetooth OBD2 scanners, they offer different features. 

Additionally, some features are only available for certain car models. For example, both Carly and Carista’s advanced features are only compatible with certain car brands.*

In the table below you can see a comparison of Carly and Carista. We have defined the “Best Value” based on how many features you can access with the FREE app and, in general, the number of features offered for the price. 

Best Value
Carly
Carista
$69.90
+ yearly license for premium
features starting at $21,99 ($2.41 p/month)
$29.99
+ paid license for premium features.
1 month: $9.99
3 months: $19.99
1 year: $49.99
Customer ratings in App and Play Store
Customer ratings in App and Play Store 4.5 out of 5 stars 3.4 out of 5 stars
  Portability & ease of use
Portability & ease of use 5/5 5/5
  OBD diagnostics (engine only)
OBD diagnostics (engine only)
  In-depth diagnostics (manufacturer-level) *
In-depth diagnostics (manufacturer-level) *
1X FREE in the lite version

Only with app subscription
  Car coding *
Car coding *
  Used car check *
Used car check *
1X FREE in the lite version
  Maintenance features *
Maintenance features *
  OBD and manufacturer-level Live parameters *
OBD and manufacturer-level live parameters *
OBD live parameters in the lite version
  Customer support
Customer support
Quick response / response in max 72h
  Device
Device OBD2 device has a lifetime warranty Device has a 2 year warranty
  Car brands
Car brands Cars with OBD2 port (* advanced features only for certain car brands). Some BMW models built from 1996 onwards (an additional 20 pin cable is needed) Cars with an OBD2 port (* advanced features only for certain car brands)

Carista vs. Carly – Feature Comparison

Our car experts have tested both solutions and weighed all the pros and cons to find the winner for each feature. Below we discuss the feature comparison and see which is the best OBD2 scanner for you!

Reading and Clearing OBD2 Engine Fault Codes

With both Carly and Carista OBD2 scanners you have access to OBD-level diagnostics using their FREE app. This means that you can read out engine-related fault codes without an app subscription.

Reading fault codes (also called error codes or OBD2 codes) is extremely important in order to prevent smaller problems from becoming expensive issues. 

For example, it is possible that your car’s check engine light hasn’t appeared on your dashboard yet, even though the engine might need maintenance. 

A big advantage of the Carly app is that in addition to showing you the fault codes, you can also see the severity of each fault. 

Moreover, the Carly app color codes each fault as either very bad, bad, or average. Therefore, it is much easier to understand the real status of each system and how urgently maintenance is needed. Otherwise, you are only shown error codes but with no indication of how much it’s affecting your car’s health.

Additionally, once you fix the faults and issues, you can clear them out from your car. Clearing fault codes is also possible with both the Carly and Carista OBD2 scanners

Winner: If you are only interested in reading and clearing fault codes for free, both Carly and Carista OBD2 scanners score equally. However, if you would like further information about the severity of each fault code, Carly wins. 

Most OBD2 scanners in the market can perform this function. However, not many give you access to read other manufacturer-level systems which are also critical. 

Manufacturer-level Scanning of Other Systems (ABS, Airbags, Transmission, Lights, Climate Control)

what OBD2 scanners can do

Besides the engine, there are also other important systems that keep your car in shape and enhance your driving experience or safety. For example, these include the ABS system, the airbags, multimedia, and more!

With both scanners, you can perform in-depth diagnostics and get a manufacturer-level scan that covers systems beyond the engine.

However, this is a premium feature with both Carly and Carista. Therefore, you will need an app subscription to access in-depth diagnostics*.

The main advantage with Carly is that you get one FREE in-depth diagnostics check using the free version of the app. This way you can test how this feature works without paying for an app subscription.

Additionally, with Carly, you can also see the severity of each fault code to understand if a system is in a “very bad”, “bad”, or “average” state. So, even if a lot of fault codes show up, you won’t be overwhelmed with trying to figure out which ones are critical issues. 

Moreover, the Carly app also evaluates the overall health status of your car. This is determined by the number and severity of fault codes shown. So after reading all the fault codes, you can have a quick overview of the health status of your car.

Winner: See the severity level of each fault code? We’ll give this round to Carly! With both scanners, you can get in-depth information about your car’s systems. However, Carly will actually tell you the severity of every single fault code and evaluate your car’s overall health based on the number of fault codes and their severity.

*However, since every car has unique components, only certain car models are compatible with Carly’s and Carista’s manufacturer-level diagnostics feature. Here you can find out if your car model supports this feature with Carly!

Emissions Check

Emissions tests are usually required by law on a periodic basis. If you fail an emissions test in the USA, the Department of Motor Vehicles can ban you from legally driving your car until it gets repaired.

However, with your own OBD2 scanner you can easily avoid this scenario. You can run an emissions test on your own first.

This will help you check if there are issues that need to be fixed before the official inspection.

For example, if your car’s exhaust is emitting too many pollutants your car may have a loose gas cap, or the OBD emission components are malfunctioning.

Fortunately, with the Carly and Carista OBD2 scanner, you can perform emissions checks with their FREE version of the app! 

The Carly OBD2 scanner supports this feature for all car brands in the world. With the Carista OBD scanner, you can check on their website if your car model supports this feature.

Winner: Both scanners score equally in this round for emissions check!

Car Coding

angel eyes coding

There are many features of your car that are automatically set up in a certain way by the manufacturer. Luckily, with an OBD2 scan tool, you can customize these features to personalize your car!

For example, you can code the way that your car’s Welcome Lights brighten up. You can also deactivate the Start/Stop System, or activate other features.

With either the Carly or Carista OBD2 scanner and app you can customize hundreds of features on your car*. 

The main difference between both scanners is the number of codings available for certain car models. Additionally, there are some car brands and car models that only Carly supports.

For example, while Carista only supports some E and F series from BMWs, Carly supports coding for almost all BMW models. Additionally, Carly also supports coding for older car models, for example, BMWs built from 1996 onwards!

Winner: Both Carly and Carista are great options for coding VW, Audi, MINI, Skoda, and more. Therefore, they score equally for this round. However, if you are a BMW car owner, without a doubt, Carly will be your to-go scanner!

*Since every car is uniquely built this feature is only compatible with certain car models.

Live Parameters

If you are a car enthusiast, having access to live parameters is a MUST!

With Carly, you will have access to real-time engine data with the “live data” feature. Depending on your car model you can have many different live parameters available! 

The live data feature is available in the FREE version of the app and you can see OBD parameters such as the engine RPM. 

And if you upgrade to the full version of the app you will have access to manufacturer-specific live parameters. These include turbo boost pressure, temperature and pressure valves, and oil temperature.

These features are available for many car brands including BMW, Mercedes, Volkswagen, Audi, Toyota, Mini, Skoda, Renault, and more!

Winner: Unfortunately Carista does not offer live parameters with their OBD2 scanner and app, therefore, Carly takes first place for this round!

Additional Features

Who wouldn’t want additional features to be included in the price? 

Carista

The Carista app offers an extra feature called “Advanced Service” that lets you perform basic services on your own. Depending on your car model, you can perform some or all of the available car services:

  • Service indicator reset, DPF regeneration, DEF level display, ECU information (view ECU’s part number), electronic parking brake service, Launch control count, and battery registration.
Carly

Carly also offers many additional features beyond diagnostics and coding. These are:

  • DIY Maintenance: Step-by-step guides for performing simple maintenance from home to save money. These include: service resets, battery registration, electronic parking brake, NOx, checking DPF critical values, requesting DPF regeneration, and reading/resetting transmission values. 
  • Used Car Check: Detect car scams and fraud when purchasing a used car. With the used car check you can detect mileage manipulation, check if the car is stolen via the VIN identification, and access the car’s history. 
  • Digital Garage: Store diagnostics reports, used car check reports, and coding backups that you can access whenever. This way you can have organized documentation of your car’s history and can share these PDF reports with your mechanic or potential buyers.

Winner: Both alternatives offer similar features such as diagnostics, coding, and maintenance. However, considering that Carly offers even more features (live parameters, used car check, and digital garage) we’ll give this round to Carly! 

Easy of Use (OBD2 Scanner + App)

The best part about Bluetooth OBD2 scanners is their portability and convenience. They are small enough to fit in your pocket and don’t require additional cables or complex equipment.

In the case of Carly and Carista, both Bluetooth OBD2 scanners are easy to plug into vehicles. It’s also simple to connect them to their mobile application via Bluetooth.

Additionally, both apps have a friendly user interface and are easy to navigate. They can be used by beginners or professionals to get engine manufacturer-level data. 

Furthermore, when it comes to performing a diagnostics check and reading out fault codes, both Carista and Carly categorize the fault codes by system. However, in the case of the Carista app, it is not completely clear the severity of each issue. 

On the other hand, Carly makes the issue severity easy to understand. Each system and fault code is color-coded based on its level of severity, as seen in the image below. 

Red = very bad
Orange = bad
Yellow = acceptable
Green = good

With Carly, the big plus is that you can see your car’s overall health status based on all the fault codes and its severity level.

Winner: Both scanners and apps are easy to use. However, when it comes to diagnostics, Carly makes the severity of each fault code much easier to understand and gives you a clearer overview of your car’s general health status. Considering this, we’ll give more points to Carly here!

Compatibility

OBD2 codes

Both the Carly and Carista OBD2 scanners work with cars that have OBD2 ports. OBD2 is the most advanced version of the OBD system. Before purchasing a scanner make sure that your car model is compatible with either option. 

Scanner

The Carista OBD2 scanner offers basic diagnostics for cars built after 1996. 

However, the rest of Carista’s premium features are only available for certain car brands. These car brands include Audi, Aston Martin, Subaru, VW, Cupra, Infinity, Lexus, Mini, Nissan, Scion, Seat, Skoda, Toyota, Audi, and some BMW models.

Regarding Carly, the OBD2 scanner is compatible with most car brands in the world. If your car was built in 2001 or later, Carly’s basic features (engine check, emissions check, and live data) will be available for your car model. This applies to both diesel vehicles and gasoline-powered cars.

However, an exception are BMW vehicles. If you have a BMW built between 1996 and 2001, you can still use the Carly scanner with a 20-pin adapter. 

As with Carista, Carly’s premium features are only supported by certain car brands. These include BMW, Mercedes, Volkswagen, Mini, Porsche, Dacia, Audi, Skoda, Seat, Renault, Toyota, and Lexus. 

App

Both the Carly app and Carista app are compatible with iOS & Android devices.

Winner: Regarding the apps, both are fully compatible with iOS and Android devices. Additionally, the Carista and Carly scanners are compatible with many car brands in the world. However, Carly offers more free and premium features for these car brands, so we have Carly as the winner!

Before purchasing the scanner we recommend that you ensure that it is compatible with your car. If you are interested in the Carly scanner, you can check and see which features are available for your car model here!

Warranty

After purchasing an OBD2 scanner, having a warranty is a MUST

As much as brands try to reduce defects in their devices, this is not always 100% guaranteed since production errors can happen. However, as a customer, you should never have to bear the consequences

If you have paid for an OBD2 scanner, the device should be fully functioning for its entire lifespan. And in case there are defects with the scanner, then you should be able to get it replaced immediately. 

With Carista, you will get a 2-year warranty for your OBD2 scanner. This includes the replacement of the device in case there is an issue with it. Please note that Carista scanners are available for purchase via different e-commerce platforms, and they can apply their own policies to the product. 

On the other hand, Carly offers a lifetime warranty on their OBD2 scanner. That means that any manufacturer defects will be covered and you will get a free replacement.

Winner: Warranty is one of the most important aspects of your post-purchase experience. Therefore, the lifetime warranty puts Carly in first place for this round.

Pricing & Value for Money

Both Carista and Carly require you to get their OBD2 device which works with their free app. Basic features come for free, while advanced features are only included in the app license. 

Best Value
Carly
Carista
OBD2 scanner price
OBD2 scanner price $69.90 + shipping $29.99 + shipping
  App
App Lite version available.
License starts at $21.69
($2.41 per month)
Lite version available.
License starts at
1 month: $9.99
3 months: $19.99
Yearly: $49.99
  Features with lite version
Features with lite version ✔️OBD diagnostics
✔️Emissions check
✔️OBD-level live data
✔️1X FREE in-depth diagnostics
✔️1X FREE used car check
✔️OBD diagnostics
✔️Emissions check
  Premium features
Premium features ✔️In-depth diagnostics
✔️Car coding
✔️Car maintenance
✔️Used car check
✔️Manufacturer-level live data
✔️In-depth diagnostics
✔️Car coding
✔️Car service
Carista

The Carista OBD2 scanner costs $29.99 and the basic features can be used for free. However, since the basic features are highly limited they openly recommend not to download their app if you are only planning to use the free features. 

If you upgrade to their pro version of the app you can use all of their premium features starting from $9.99 per month. Additionally, you can also purchase the app license for 3 months or a year. 

Carly

Regarding the Carly scanner (called the Carly Universal Adapter) it costs $69.90 + shipping. The basic features can be used for free in the Carly app. Additionally, with the free app, you also get one FREE in-depth diagnostic and one FREE used car check.

To use advanced features such as coding, you will need a license for the app.  The price for the license starts at $21.96 for a yearly subscription. This depends on your car model, and how many car brands you want to have advanced features for in the Carly app.

Winner: With Carista, you only get value from the adapter if you purchase an app license. However, with Carly’s lite version of the app you get the overall health check status, faults categorized based on severity level, live parameters, a 1X FREE in-depth diagnostic, and a 1X FREE used car check. More features for free? Carly’s the winner here!

Carly vs. Carista — Bottom Line

After comparing every feature offered by the Carly and Carista OBD2 scanner, first place goes to Carly!

Carly OBD Scanner

With Carista, you only get value from the OBD2 adapter if you purchase an app subscription. Even then, the premium features available only include in-depth diagnostics, car coding, and car service.

However, with Carly you get much more value with all the extra features….even if you are using the free version of the app! (Check the price & value table above) 

Overall, for diagnostics, Carly takes it to another level by indicating the severity level of every single system and fault code. Additionally, Carly tells you how much these fault codes are affecting your car’s overall health state. 

This way you are not just given a bunch of fault codes on your screen, where you’re stuck trying to figure out how bad they are and how they’re affecting your car!

Moreover, besides diagnostics, coding and maintenance you can access EXTRA features with the Carly app. These are:

  • Advanced live parameters: See oil temperature, turbo boost pressure, and more.
  • Used car check: Detect image manipulation, make sure the car isn’t stolen (with VIN comparison), and see the car’s history.
  • Digital garage: Store reports about your car to share with mechanics or future buyers.

To top it off, the lifetime warranty and 72-hour response time will make your experience stress-free.

Usually, to access all the features that Carly offers, you would need to have a professional device or software which can cost up to $3,000. 

The price for the Carly OBD2 scanner and app is affordable considering all the available features. It provides the best of both worlds: advanced features for a reasonable price.

It is a great deal and an investment you can use throughout your car’s lifetime. Therefore, our experts have rated it as the best overall Bluetooth OBD2 scanner!