A bi-directional scan tool not only interprets the information in your car’s OBD system. Good bidirectional scanners communicate with your car so it can offer the best solutions to solving your car’s issues.
These tools can turn systems in your car on and off, so you determine what that light from your OBD system is referring to.
Here’s a breakdown of nine best bi-directional scan tools on the market today.
- 1 Best Bi-directional Scan Tool: Editor’s Top 3 Picks Comparison Chart
- 2 Best Bidirectional Scan Tools Review
- 2.1 1LAUNCH X431 V PRO Full-system Diagnostic Tool with Bi-directional Control & Actuation Test
- 2.2 2Autel MaxiDAS DS808 OBD2 Full-system Diagnostic Scanner with Bi-Directional Control and ECU Coding
- 2.3 3FOXWELL NT650 Automotive ABS SRS Bidirectional Scan Tool with Special Service Functions
- 2.4 4LAUNCH X431 PROS Mini Bluetooth Full-system Bi-directional Scan Tool with ECU Coding
- 2.5 5LAUNCH CRP429 OBD2 ABS Bi-directional Diagnostic Scan Tool with All System Diagnoses and Service Functions
- 2.6 6Autel Maxisys MS906BT Bluetooth Full-system Bidirectional Diagnostic Tool with ECU Coding
- 2.7 7FOXWELL NT630 Elite OBD2 ABS SRS Affordable Bidirectional Scan Tool
- 2.8 8Autel AL619 Engine ABS SRS Affordable Bi-directional Diagnostic Tool
- 2.9 9ANCEL AD610 Elite Automotive OBDII ABS SAS Actuator Affordable Bi-directional Scan Tool
- 3 The Bottom Line
Best Bi-directional Scan Tool: Editor’s Top 3 Picks Comparison Chart
LAUNCH X431 V PRO
Autel MaxiDAS DS808
4.4 / 5
4.4 / 5
3.6 / 5
|Item Weight||10.7 pounds||5.9 pounds||3.2 pounds|
|Package Dimensions||20 x 14 x 4 inches||17.3 x 6.7 x 21.6 inches||13.2 x 8.9 x 3 inches|
|Reset Check Engine Light||✔||✔||✔|
|Full OBDII Functions||✔||✔||✔|
|ABS, SRS Diagnosis||✔||✔||✔|
Best Bidirectional Scan Tools Review
1LAUNCH X431 V PRO Full-system Diagnostic Tool with Bi-directional Control & Actuation Test
The LAUNCH X431 V Pro comes in the form of an 8-inch tablet with a clear screen. This bidirectional OBDII scanner reads and graphs data for ALL systems in your car. That includes wiper, seat, navigation, multimedia, cruise control, air conditioning, and other systems regular scanners don’t test.
The X431 V Pro also runs actuator tests that allow you to check individual parts to see what is working properly. And if there is a problem, the X431 Pro offers how-to-videos and assistance from professional experts to help you fix the problem.
Other features include Auto VIN Identification, Key programming, a 5-year warranty, and 2 years of free software updates.
This bi-directional OBDII scanner works with 94 car brands and up to 10,000 car models.
- Fast and easy to use for experts
- Works better than more expensive scanners
- Performs actuator tests
- Reads and clears codes for all systems
- Long Battery life
- Free Wi-Fi printer included with some purchases
- Takes a long time to charge
- Often doesn’t include the owner’s manual.
- Some users report trouble with the activation and update codes
Who’s it For?
The LAUNCH X431 V Pro is best for expert mechanics and professionals because of its actuator testing. Professionals will also appreciate the number of car brands and models compatible with the X431 V Pro.
2Autel MaxiDAS DS808 OBD2 Full-system Diagnostic Scanner with Bi-Directional Control and ECU Coding
The Autel MaxiDAS DS808 works with a 7-inch android display screen. Specialized functions include cloud-based MaxiFix, which stores your car’s diagnostic history over the cloud.
This Autel bidirectional scan tool serves all the most common functions. These include Oil Reset, EPB, DPF Regeneration, ABS/SRS, and SAS calibration among others.
The bidirectional control ability in the DS808 performs active testing of most major functions in your car. These tests allow you to better diagnose complex problems in your vehicle.
The battery can last for up to 4.5 hours of constant use. And this Autel bidirectional scan tool comes with a 1-year warranty and free lifetime updates.
The Autel MaxiDAS DS808 supports over 80 car brands from 1996 to the present.
- Very light and easy to move around
- Touch screen is very easy to use
- Manages data on the cloud
- Free lifetime software updates
- Comes with AutoVIN technology
- Battery is not always reliable
- Tutorial section doesn’t connect to all servers
- Warranty service means sending product to China
Who’s it For?
The Autel MaxiDAS DS808 is best for mechanics and professionals who need a tool that is portable and easy to handle.
Bonus: You can find more Autel scanners here
3FOXWELL NT650 Automotive ABS SRS Bidirectional Scan Tool with Special Service Functions
The Foxwell NT650 stands out as one of the cheapest scanners with bidirectional functions on the market.
This handheld scanner performs 13 different resets. These resets include oil, ABS, SRS, EPB, and TPMS systems among others. And the NT650 performs all the basic functions of an automotive bidirectional scan tool. These include DPF Regeneration, tire pressure monitoring, and battery replacement.
The NT650 runs multiple tests, including mode 6 testing. And the graphing capabilities produced by the two-way nature of the NT650 help you to really get down to the key issues with your car.
Creators built the NT650 for durability. A rubberized sleeve, extra corner padding, and screen protector keep the NT650 safe from the wear and tear of a garage.
Foxwell offers free lifetime updates for the product and an 18-month warranty.
Compatibility for cars depends on the system. For example, the ABS/SRS works with 58 car makes. The oil reset works for 49 car makes. TPMS adaptation works for 32 car makes. And the DPF regeneration works for 33 car makes.
- Price and durability
- Long cable allows for easy check of real-time data while driving
- SD Card in device allows you to transport to data easily to other devices
- Easy to move around the garage
- Clear graphs are easy to read
- Not every feature works for every car
- Difficult to register updates
- Advertises has multilingual, but only in English and Spanish
Who’s it For?
The Foxwell NT650 is best for DIYers and expert mechanics who want an affordable bi-directional scanner that will last.
4LAUNCH X431 PROS Mini Bluetooth Full-system Bi-directional Scan Tool with ECU Coding
The LAUNCH X431 PROS Mini works like a mini tablet. DIYers will love the X431 PROS mini’s compact, portable structure.
The PROS mini clears codes and activates components to help you determine what’s behind the issues in your car. Resets include Oil, TPMS, parking brake, and electronic throttle.
This bi-directional scan tool also performs DPF regeneration, steering angle calibration, battery maintenance, and more.
Data live streams over the easy to use touchscreen interface with HD display. The Bluetooth and Wi-Fi features on the bi-directional scan tool allow you to diagnose while working under the head. And information loads to your screen with incredible speed and accuracy.
The LAUNCH X431 PROS mini works with over 80 car brands. Included with the PROS mini is 14 connectors compatible with other automotive standards.
- Performs Key Configuration
- Offers 2 years of free updates
- Easy to use screen interface
- Compatible with a lot of cars
- Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
- Works better for foreign cars than it does American cars
- Can take a long time to register
- Updates are expensive after the 2 free years.
Who’s It For?
The LAUNCH X431 PROS mini works best for mechanics and car enthusiasts who need or like to experiment with different features.
5LAUNCH CRP429 OBD2 ABS Bi-directional Diagnostic Scan Tool with All System Diagnoses and Service Functions
LAUNCH’s CRP429 bi-directional diagnostic scan tool distinguishes itself very quickly. Buyers will see quickly that the CRP429 is one of the most affordable bidirectional scan tools on the market.
The CRP429 weighs in at a portable 2.64 pounds. This affordable bidirectional scan tool retrieves live data for all systems in 1 minute. That’s a comprehensive review of your entire car in only one minute.
Resets include oil, battery, electronic parking brake, and SAS. Other functions include EPB, DPF, ABS, SRS testing, and more.
The CRP429 informs users of updates and other product offers frequently. Also included with purchase is a 12-month warranty and 12 months of free updates.
Most US cars after 1996 and European models after 2000 are compatible with the LAUNCH CRP429.
- Supports VIN Autoscan
- Easy to use and carry around
- Recommended as a good first advanced scanner
- Durable rubber cable connectors
- Supports Mode 6 testing
- One minute comprehensive car check.
- Rebooting tool can be “glitchy”
- Does not reset throttle body
- Unable to reprogram key fob
Who’s It For?
DIYers and near advanced level mechanics who like portability will love the CRP429.
6Autel Maxisys MS906BT Bluetooth Full-system Bidirectional Diagnostic Tool with ECU Coding
The Autel Maxisys MS906BT supports long-distance work. Bluetooth transmission through the HDMI and USB ports of the MS906BT allow you to communicate with your car from anywhere in your garage. And the Exynos 5260 6-core processor inside the MS906BT ensures ultra-fast speed from any distance.
This automotive bidirectional scan tool also comes with an 8-megapixel camera for capturing pictures and video of your car.
Resets and professional diagnostics include oil reset, TPMS, EPB, actuation testing, SAS calibration, SRS, APB, and DPF. ECU coding is available, but only for Mercedes and BMW.
The Maxisys MS906BT works for over 80 car brands and manufacturers.
- Data logging capability ensures problem is solved correctly.
- Strongly recommended for DIYers
- Works really fast and from long distances
- Updates easily
- Comes with significant memory for storing a ton of data
- Reads AutoVIN technology
- One of the more expensive models
- ECU functions only work for a few brands
- Initial battery may fail early on
Who’s It For?
The Autel Maxisys MS906BT works well for both professional mechanics and DIYers. Many reviews credit the MS906BT with really diversifying the work they could do in their garage.
(Of Note: The MS906BT is an updated version of the MS906. Remember, these are two different models. And while the MS906 has many of the same functions, the MS906BT is a significant upgrade in speed and features).
7FOXWELL NT630 Elite OBD2 ABS SRS Affordable Bidirectional Scan Tool
Few models sell themselves as affordably as the FOXWELL NT630 Elite does. Chiming in at $140 (expect to pay over $100 more for most similar models), this cheap bidirectional scan tool works just as fast and effectively as other, more expensive models.
The NT630 reads and clears codes for most of the systems in your car. And it works especially well for your safety systems and brake systems.
The NT630 Elite turns off lights for your ABS/SRS/SAS systems. Once the lights are off, this affordable bidirectional code reader than allows you to control and activate those systems as your work through their issues.
And for the brakes, the NT630 Elite supports ABS Bleeding. You can use your NT630 to bleed the braking systems of any air they’ve acquired while receiving work.
Other tests supported include I/M readiness testing, O2 sensor testing, actuator testing, and motor testing. The NT630 also performs gear tension relief testing and retrieves ECU information using your VIN number.
Over 50 models cars work well with the NT630 Elite. That includes American models Chrysler, GM, and Ford after 1996; most Asian models after 2001; and most European models after 2003.
The product comes with lifetime updates that are easy to install. A 42-month warranty with technical assistance ensures the life of the product.
- One of the most affordable models on the market
- Bleeds the ABS system
- Compact size makes it easy to carry around
- Data is fast and accurate
- Software updates are quick and easy
- Lifetime software updates and 3 and a half year warranty
- Not the easiest model to learn
- Does not read or clear transmission codes
- Tech support doesn’t work very fast
- Might not work for your model car
Who’s It For?
The FOXWELL NT630 Elite OBD2 Scanner is great for a car owner on a budget. But be prepared to take time to learn to use it. And do your research to determine if it works with your car.
Many owners have complained their car was not supported, even though FOXWELL advertised that their car was.
8Autel AL619 Engine ABS SRS Affordable Bi-directional Diagnostic Tool
The Autel AL619 chimes in as another cheap bidirectional scan tool with top of the line features.
Generic codes, manufacturer specific codes, and pending codes all present themselves in this affordable model. And the AL619 explains the meaning of those codes; saving you time having to research the issue.
The AL619 clears most all MIL’s, including ABS and SRS lights. Clearing and reading codes regularly work for most models, with resets available for all of your car’s major systems.
The bidirectional function also allows you to check faults with your car’s airbag and SRS system. Other tests this cheap bidirectional scan tool can run include I/M readiness testing, O2 sensor testing, and EVAP testing.
Mode 08 tests are also compatible with the AL619. Freeze frame data posts live on the screen and is analyzed through easy to read graphs. The AL619 then stores the data for future access. Data and graphs easily print from your personal computer as well.
Most car brands built past 1996 support the AL619. But only about 50 of those brands support the clearing of ABS and SRS codes. The AL619 also comes with free lifetime updates, a 1 year warranty, and is available in multiple languages.
(Of Note: a micro SD card is required to perform updates)
- The key pad is really easy to use.
- Basic functions work great with most cars.
- Free updates for a lifetime and 1 year warranty.
- Quickly diagnoses the issues in your car.
- Reads and supports several car identifiers, including VIN, CVN, and CIN.
- Settings need to be changed from “general area” to the area you live in when you first purchase the AL619.
- –ABS and SRS not compatible with all car models.
- –Users have complained about customer service in the past.
Who’s It For?
Beginners and home mechanics will love the AL619 with clear listing of code definitions, free lifetime updates, and affordable pricing.
9ANCEL AD610 Elite Automotive OBDII ABS SAS Actuator Affordable Bi-directional Scan Tool
The ANCEL AD610 works well at an affordable price.
This cheap bidirectional scan tool works hard to find and clear bad codes. That saves you money that you don’t have to pay a mechanic to diagnose your vehicle or make a needless repair.
The AD610 gives you control of your ABS and SRS/airbag systems so you can properly figure out issues with these vital safety components. All OBDII test modes actively work on the AD610. These include O2 sensor tests, live data, and individual component testing.
Live data comes in easy to read graphing form for proper diagnostic analysis.
The ANCEL AD610 includes most standard resets, including oil and airbag system resets. The airbag will often not deploy if the SRS light is on, so resetting that light increases safety while riding in your car.
Other bidirectional functions include providing you access to switches, sensors, and actuators. And the AD610 finds car information accurately using the VIN number.
This affordable bidirectional scan tool works with over 60 models of cars, including some with OBDI systems, minivans, SUV’s, and hybrids. The AD610 translates multiple languages, including French, Russian, Polish, and German.
- Rubberized textured grip makes the product easy to handle
- Nice carrying case and micro SD card come with your purchase
- Screen display perfect for drive cycle verification
- Resets key safety systems in your car
- Available in multiple languages
- Many have complained about the website and the instruction manual.
- Takes some time to figure out how to use.
- May not be compatible with your car even when ANCEL claims it is.
Who’s It For?
The ANCEL AD610 is perfect for a DIYer or mechanic who can figure out how bi-directional scan tools work without a lot of direction. Those on a budget will want to look into this one as well.
The Bottom Line
Buy the ANCEL AD610, the Autel AL619, the LAUNCH CRP429, or the FOXWELL NT650 if you want affordable. Beginners will like the AL619. Experts will prefer the NT650. The AD610 and CRP429 fall somewhere in the middle of those two.
More advanced mechanics and professionals will prefer the LAUNCH x431 models. The PROS mini works best for those who are advanced but learning, while the VPRO works better for your shop.
Professionals will also like the MaxiDas, especially those who want a portable model that is easy to move around.
FOXWELL’s other model, the NT630 Elite, works well for beginners on a budget as well. But this cheap bidirectional scan tool will take some time to learn.
And finally, the Autel Maxisys MS906BT’s camera feature works great for DIYers and professionals that want to record the issues they are diagnosing.
Now be warned: as I’ve established with each review, your car model will not work with all these scanners. And even if it does, some of the functions you need won’t be compatible with that scan tool even if other functions do work.
That will include car models the manufacturer tells you should work with that tool. So read plenty of reviews and get a consensus from multiple experts. Use their feedback to determine if the bidirectional scan tool you are purchasing will serve the functions you want it to serve for your car.
And be prepared to pay more if you need a scanner that covers multiple models.