10 Best Bi-Directional Scan Tools for 2023 [Review]

If you’re looking to find the best bidirectional scan tool for your workshop, then you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, I’m going to take you through some of the finest options available on the market today, and explain how they can revolutionize your workflow.

Picking up a great OBD2 scan tool is one of the wisest investments a mechanic or car owner can make.They save you loads of time on automotive diagnostics and allow you to complete complex repairs with absolute ease.

Read on to find out what to look for in your next OBD2 tool and how to find the perfect device for your needs.


Best Scan Tools with Bi-directional Function Comparison Chart

Best of the BestBest CheapRunner-up
Launch X431 V Pro
Launch X431 V Pro
Check Price
ANCEL AD610 Elite
ANCEL AD610 Elite
Check Price
Check Price
My Rating
4.44.4 / 5
4.34.3 / 5
3.93.9 / 5
PriceLaunch X431 V Pro priceANCEL AD610 Elite priceFOXWELL NT630 Plus price
20" x 14" x 4"8.7" x 6.6" x 3.4"17.7" x 9.8" x 2.4"
Item Weight10.7lbs1.76lbs2.65lbs
Bidirectional Control
CEL reset
Engine Diagnosis
SRS, ABS Diagnosis
Live data
Freeze frame data
Emission test
SAS Calibration--
Transmission Diagnosis----
Oil Service----
TPMS Service----
EPB Service----
Wifi Connection----

What is a Bi-directional Scan tool?

A bidirectional scan tool is a vehicle diagnostic device that allows mechanics to send commands to a car, as well as read the data coming back from it. This is different from traditional scanners, which are usually read-only devices.

Bidirectional scanners provide an incredible amount of possibilities when it comes to vehicle repairs. They can run full system tests, access the engine control module, and even perform ECU coding.

A bidirectional OBD2 scanner is one of the best items that a mechanic can add to their toolkit.

How I Chose The Best Bi-directional Scan Tools

I don’t make my recommendations lightly. I personally evaluated each of these tools to determine which would best serve our readers’ needs. To that end, I scored each based on the following criteria.

Functionality – Since these scanners require higher functionality than traditional diagnostic scanners, I placed this as the most important factor in my review. Each of the scanners I chose for this article has top-tier functionality.

Usability – I wanted to make sure that each of these scanners was user-friendly. Scanners that were easier to use scored higher in my ranking. 

Reliability – Reliable code readings and responsiveness to commands are essential to bi-directional scanners. I made sure that each of my top picks was reliable over multiple uses. 

Compatibility – Here’s where I get into the compatibility of each model and whether it can be used across a range of makes, models, and applications.

With these criteria in mind, I did my best to choose scan tools that will best serve both professional mechanics and DIYers. 

Best Bidirectional Scan Tools For Vehicle Diagnostics

My  evaluation yielded 10 scan tools that stood above the rest. The following bidirectional scanners are, in my opinion, the best tools for the job in 2023. 

  1. Launch X431 V Pro 
  2. Autel Maxisys MS906BT
  3. Ancel AD610
  4. Foxwell NT630
  5. Ancel FX6000 
  6. Launch X431 V+ 
  7. Autel Maxidas DS808
  8. Foxwell NT650 Elite
  9. TOPDON ArtiDiag100
  10. OTC 3893 Encore

Below you’ll find my individual evaluation of each bi-directional OBD2 scanner, including information about specific features, pros and cons, pricing, and more. 

1. Launch X431 V Pro OBD2 Diagnostic Tool – Editor’s Pick

LAUNCH X431 PRO Bidirectional OBD2 Scanner

The first bidirectional scan tool that I’d recommend is the excellent Launch X431 V Pro. Launch is one of the leading names in the industry and has built a reputation for its high-quality products and friendly customer service.

My Thoughts and Impressions:

The Launch X431 V Pro has all the basic functionality that you’d expect from a diagnostic scan tool. I could easily turn off the check engine light, read and clear error codes, and monitor vehicle sensors.

Where this device really comes into its own is with its bidirectional features. I found performing actuation tests to be an absolute breeze with the Launch X431 V Pro. With each test, I knew within minutes which actuators were functioning correctly and which needed some attention.

Since this is a bidirectional scan tool, you can use the device to control vehicle functions whilst you walk around the vehicle. One way I’ve tested this was by using the Launch tool to move the steering column whilst checking that the wheels respond accordingly.

I also loved the Launch X431 V Pro’s very useful live data function that allowed me to really get to grips with how my vehicle was performing in real time. Throughout my time with this bidirectional scan tool, I was constantly presented with live data streams from all the systems in both of the cars I was testing. 


The Launch X431 V Pro is compatible with vehicles from across Asian, European, and American markets. In fact, this bidirectional scan tool can be used with over 94 different car brands and 10,000 models.

I was also happy to learn that this OBD2 bidirectional scanner also has a multilingual menu system that can be configured in a range of different languages. If you work in a garage with people of different nationalities, then everyone will be able to get the most out of this device.

Launch X431 V Pro Bi-directional OBD2 Diagnostic Tool
4.54.5 / 5
The new design includes a large tablet-sized 8 inch touchscreen with an extensive battery life.

Pros and Cons:


  • Extremely useful live data function
  • Multilinguality 
  • Quick testing 


  • Too complicated for amateur users 

My Rating: 4.5 / 5

2. Autel Maxisys MS906BT Professional Scan Tool for Technicians

Autel Maxisys MS906BT Bi-directional OBD2 scanner

The next bidirectional scan tool that I believe is worth your money is the Autel Maxisys MS906BT. This diagnostic scanner is extremely popular and many mechanics around the world use it every day in their professional workshops.

The Autel Maxisys MS906BT is built to the brand’s usual high standards. The responsive touch screen is protected by a durable plastic and rubber casing so there’s absolutely no need to worry about this device getting damaged.

Autel actually throws in a one-year warranty with every purchase, which keeps you covered in the extremely unlikely event that you come across any manufacturer faults.

My Thoughts and Impressions: 

The device’s well-built exterior is combined with industry-leading software that is packed with features. When holding it in my hands, I could really feel that the team over at Autel has really put a lot of care and effort into making the device as sturdy and durable as possible. The Autel Maxisys MS906BT is an upgrade on the legendary MS906 model and adds Bluetooth functionality for wireless diagnostics.

The inclusion of Bluetooth meant that I was free to walk around a vehicle whilst using the tablet. This was particularly useful whenever I wanted to command the car to perform a task and observe how it responds.

I was very impressed with this Autel bidirectional scan tool’s ECU coding ability, which allows the user to recode elements of a car’s CPU. It came in handy when I wanted to set up new actuators and make sure that they work in harmony with the rest of the subsystem.

The MS906BT runs on the Android operating system. One of the biggest advantages of using an Android OS is that it is updated regularly and you’ll never be left with an obsolete tablet. Android is also extremely well-optimized and responsive, so I never felt frustrated while using it. To the contrary, I was blown away by the speed and functionality of this seemingly simple OBD2 bidirectional scanner! 


This Autel scanner is compatible with more than 80 car brands from the US, Europe, and Asia. Thus, I think it’s safe to say that you are highly unlikely to run into a vehicle that you can’t use this scanner for.

All I had to do to make use of this device’s wireless connectivity features was simply insert the included Bluetooth transmitter into my vehicle’s diagnostic port. After that, I could easily find the transmitter in the Autel device’s menus and linked them up.

Autel Maxisys MS906BT Professional Bidirectional Scan Tool for Technicians
4.34.3 / 5
This newer device is more advanced with functions to help support distant Bluetooth transmission as well as digital inspection camera add-ons.

Pros and Cons:


  • Sturdiness and durability 
  • ECU coding 
  • Android OS 


  • Battery life could be better

My Rating: 4.3 / 5

3. ANCEL AD610 Elite Scanning Tool (Cheap)

ANCEL AD610 Elite Automotive OBD II Diagnostic Scan Tool

It’s true that a bidirectional scan tool can be an expensive investment. However, there are some cheaper options available, such as the Ancel AD610.

Ancel isn’t a brand to sacrifice on quality to provide cheap products, so you can rest easy knowing that your Ancel AD610 will have passed through some strict quality-control testing.

My Thoughts and Impressions: 

This scan tool has an attractive price tag, but it doesn’t mean that it’s inferior to its more expensive counterparts. After the tests I’ve done, I can conclude that it still manages to offer impressive functions that rival many of the “premium” models. For example, the AD610 can complete advanced ABS, SAS, and actuator tests.

Additionally, I could use the device to turn off warning lights and run airbag checks. Its code reading abilities are also very solid and the AD610 can recognize and read trouble codes from a wide variety of vehicle systems.

Most importantly, this scan tool is able to clear error codes after a repair has been completed. I always consider it to be a major faux pas whenever a mechanic hands my car back to me with fault codes still showing, so it’s a huge advantage in my book. 


The Ancel AD610 has a decent level of compatibility, covering around 62 global automotive brands. Although I’ve tested scan tools that are compatible with more vehicle brands than this, the AD610 covers more than enough manufacturers to make it a valuable diagnostic tool.

Since this scan tool is OBD2 compliant, it can be used with vehicles produced after 1996. If you want to run diagnostics on a car or van made before 1996, then you’ll need a dedicated OBD1-compliant device.

Ancel AD610
ANCEL AD610 Elite Bidirectional Scan Tool
4.34.3 / 5
AThe ANCEL AD610 will help you to get an accurate read on your vehicle with manufacturer specific error codes because this device can detect your VIN number.

Pros and Cons:


  • Clears error codes automatically after repairs 
  • Great price-to-quality ratio 


  • Not compatible with as many brands as its competitors 

My Rating: 4.3 / 5

4. FOXWELL NT630 Plus Scanner (Cheap)

FOXWELL NT630 Elite OBD2 Scanner For Bi-directional Diagnostic Tests
With FOXWELL NT630 Elite, the check of electronic components such as switches, sensors, relays& actuators is made a simple task. Credit: Obdstation.com

I’m happy to report that with FOXWELL NT630 Elite, the check of electronic components such as switches, sensors, relays, and actuators is made a simple task. I found it to be a simple, inexpensive device that gets the job done in a timely and efficient manner. 

This bidirectional scan tool is another budget-oriented option that is pretty similar to the Ancel AD610. As with the Ancel device, I found advanced functions on the NT630 that I usually tend to associate with higher-priced models.

The NT630 scan tool is extremely well-built and to be completely honest, I feel like the manufacturer was within their rights to have asked for much more than its very reasonable price tag. Foxwell also includes a one-year warranty with your purchase to give you some extra peace of mind.

My Thoughts and Impressions: 

If you’re working on a budget, then the Foxwell NT630 is one of the best bidirectional scan tools you can buy. I was impressed by its professional-grade functionality in a very easy-to-use package. Its range of features makes it suitable for mechanics and amateur vehicle owners alike.

As soon as I connected the Foxwell NT630 to my car, it immediately read its VIN number and tailored its functions accordingly. The VIN number lets the device know the exact make and model of the car it is working with and will report this information back to the mechanic.

The NT630 is a very capable trouble code reader and it highlighted any problems in my vehicle’s systems. I was also able to access Foxwell’s database of error codes, where I could browse through extensive information about tested fixes and repair ideas for specific codes.

In my opinion, the ABS Bleeding feature is one of the most useful capabilities of this bi-directional scanner. It prepares the ABS system for bleeding and ensures the process is as simple as possible. ABS bleeding can sometimes be a fiddly job, so I definitely appreciated having a tool to help me out with it.


For an affordable bidirectional scan tool, the Foxwell NT630 has a pretty impressive level of compatibility. Specifically, it can be used with over 52 vehicle brands from around the world.

The scanner works with most post-1996 vehicles but there are some exceptions where you won’t be able to use all of the device’s functions. If you want to find out which models this applies to then I’d recommend getting in touch with Foxwell’s helpful customer service team.

FOXWELL NT630 Plus Bi-directional Scan Tool
4.34.3 / 5
It is an easy to use tool with the added convenience that it doesn’t need an extra battery, this device charges directly from the OBD2 port in your vehicle.

Pros and Cons:


  • Automatically detects the car’s VIN number 
  • Affordable price 
  • ABS bleeding feature 


  • No wireless option 

My Rating: 4.3 / 5

5. ANCEL FX6000 All System Code Reader for Technicians

ANCEL FX6000 All System Bi-directional OBD2 Diagnostic Scan Tool
FX6000 can do the bidirectional and active test (Not for all car models). Credit: Obdstation.com

Another Ancel product made it onto my list. This time their FX6000 model. This diagnostic scanner has one of the most rugged designs that I’ve ever seen. The strong plastic housing is accented with rubber for extra protection.

The FX6000 is very easy-to-use and is a great product for people just getting into vehicle diagnostics. However, it still offered plenty of functionality for a more experienced individual like me, and after the tests I’ve done, I believe that it would improve the efficiency of any car workshop.

My Thoughts and Impressions: 

Live Data streaming is my personal highlight of this tool. It allowed me to view vehicle performance in real time and observe how the engine responded as I gave certain commands to the vehicle.

Since the FX6000 is bidirectional, I could send these commands directly from the device. The Live Data that is produced can then be displayed graphically for easy analysis. The FX6000 really manages to showcase how effective a bidirectional can be, and it saved me a whole lot of time in my workshop.

The tablet is loaded with thousands of repair tips that have been tested by professional mechanics. Whenever the FX6000 detected an error code, it also provided me with a selection of these tips, helping me out with the repair process.


This bidirectional scan tool is compatible with vehicles from the Asian, European, and American car markets. In fact, the FX6000 can be used with nearly all vehicles that are OBD2 compliant.

Having said that, it’s still worth doing some extra research to ensure that all of the FX6000’s features are going to be compatible with the vehicles you work with.

ANCEL FX6000 All System Bidirectional Scan Tool for Technicians
4.24.2 / 5
This particular diagnostic scan tool features advanced ECU coding and programing that other tools do not support.

Pros and Cons:


  • Live data streaming 
  • Repair tips provided in real time 
  • Cool design
  • Advanced programming capabilities 


  • Lofty price 

My Rating: 4.2 / 5

6. LAUNCH X431 V+ Diagnostic Scan Tool for Technicians

LAUNCH OBD2 Full System Bi-Directional Diagnostic Scanner

The Launch X431 V+ is very similar to the X431 Pro that I reviewed earlier in this list. The X431 V+ offers a slightly different set of features to the Pro version and is perhaps more suited to the professional workshop.

Having said that, both devices are excellent choices and the average user is unlikely to find any major differences between them.

My Thoughts and Impressions: 

Like the X431 Pro, I could easily complete all the standard OBD functions using the Launch X431 V+, such as turning off warning lights and reading error codes. I was also pleased to gain the same easy access to ECU coding and be able to customize vehicles to my specific requirements.

The bidirectional tools worked seamlessly on this device, which gave me the maximum amount of control when completing my repairs. The fact that this bidirectional OBD2 scanner also makes repair suggestions when it reads error codes is also a fantastic feature.

If I had to point towards one feature that impressed me the most about the Launch X431 V+ during my tests, it would have to be the IMMO servicing function. It allowed me to program new keys for a vehicle, which is definitely useful should I ever lose my keys or have them stolen from me. 


The Launch X431 V+ comes with an array of different adapters to suit many different car brands and models. In fact, the adapters allow the X431 to be compatible with around 90% of vehicles from across the world. If you have a vehicle that is OBD2 compliant, then it is highly likely you’ll be able to make use of this scan tool.

Launch X431 Powerful & Professional Diagnostic System
LAUNCH X431 V+ Bi-Directional Diagnostic Scan Tool for Technicians
3.93.9 / 5
TheLAUNCH OBD2 is a bi-directional scan tool with powerful bidirectional control which can request or command information from your vehicle.

Pros and Cons:


  • Great IMMO servicing function 
  • Easy ECU coding access 


  • Need to use adapters for compatibility with various vehicle brands 

My Rating: 3.9 / 5

7. Autel DS808 Diagnostic Tool with Control Ability

Autel Maxidas DS808 Professional Bi-directional OBD2 Diagnostic Tool

The Autel Maxidas DS808 is the upgraded version of the highly-rated DS708. This scan tool takes everything I loved about the DS708 and makes significant improvements on build quality, software, and usability.

This scan tool uses Bluetooth to connect up to compatible vehicles. I simply inserted the included adapter into the OBD2 port of my car and the connector worked wirelessly right away. I loved the fact that I wasn’t tethered down by a cable and could observe my vehicle from virtually any angle. 

My Thoughts and Impressions: 

In terms of functionality, the Autel Maxidas DS808 pulls no punches. I could use it to read and clear error codes with ease and found running tests on my car’s systems to be an absolute breeze. I began each one of my tests with running basic diagnostic health-checks on the transmission, ABS, airbag systems, and more.

I also tried out all of the standard functions that the DS808 completes, including oil reset, TPMS programming, SAS calibration, and SRS system services. However, it is the bidirectional scan tool’s set of advanced features that really help it stand out from its competition. 

For example, I could use the Autel Maxidas DS808 to prepare the braking system for bleeding. This is a really useful feature and can shave loads of time off a braking system repair job. I can’t believe how much more work I could get through with this bi-directional scanner.


This bidirectional scan tool has an impressive range of compatibility, able to function with over 80 different vehicle brands from all international markets.

If you run a professional workshop, then the compatibility of a scan tool should be one of your biggest concerns. The better the compatibility, the more vehicles you can use it with, and the more time you can save.

Autel Maxidas DS808
Autel DS808 Diagnostic Scanner with Bi-directional Control Ability
4.74.7 / 5
This device is loaded with complete capabilities for reading and clearing error codes, gathering live data diagnostics, performing active tests, and more.

Pros and Cons:


  • Bluetooth adapter ensures faster wireless connectivity 
  • Simple, beginner-friendly interface
  • Real time-saver 


  • I faced touchscreen input lag on rare occasions 

My Rating: 4.7 / 5

8. FOXWELL NT650 Elite Automotive Scan Tool

FOXWELL NT650 Automotive Code Reader with Bidirectional Diagnosis

My next recommendation is another diagnostic product from Foxwell, this time their NT650 Elite model. Foxwell is a highly respected brand in the industry and many professionals use their scan tools every single day in their workshops.

This particular device is built to Foxwell’s usual standards and is likely to last for a very long time. For extra peace of mind, the NT650 comes with a one-year warranty, to protect you against any unexpected manufacturer’s faults.

My Thoughts and Impressions: 

The NT650 is one of the most accurate scan tools that I’ve tested and can diagnose vehicle problems in a matter of seconds. This is thanks to the scanner’s comprehensive error code coverage – it can recognize fault codes from across all the different vehicle systems.

The error reports are displayed clearly on the device’s 4.3-inch color display for easy analysis. I find most compact scan tools like the NT650 to be very hard to read, but that is definitely not the case here. I appreciated the ease-of-use of this scanner; its large buttons and shortcuts were clearly arranged on the front of the tool, and I didn’t waste too much time getting to know the device before actually getting to work. 

Despite being a more affordable OBD2 scanner, I was surprised by how many useful features are packed into the Foxwell NT650. These include ABS and SRS reset functions, DPF regeneration, and EPB reset.

One of the functions I particularly liked was the SAS calibration circuit. Thanks to this feature, I was able to quickly re-center the steering angle sensor without having to make any complicated repairs.


This bidirectional scan tool can complete basic OBD2 functions on more than 58 car makes, and advanced functions on over 40. This coverage spans across vehicle manufacturers from all the major car markets around the world.

Foxwell is known for having a fantastic customer service team, so don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any more questions about the Foxwell NT650 Elite’s features or compatibility. I tried contacting them both by email and phone, and they never failed to address my concerns clearly and quickly.

FOXWELL NT650 Elite Automotive Bidirectional Scan Tool
FOXWELL NT650 Elite Automotive Bidirectional Scan Tool
4.54.5 / 5
All advanced features of more codes, functions, compatibility in a Bluetooth OBD2 scan tool.

Pros and Cons:


  • Rare compact scanner with an easily readable interface
  • SAS calibration circuit
  • Bluetooth connectivity 


  • Can feel outdated compared to the competition 

My Rating: 4.5 / 5

9. TOPDON ArtiDiag100 All-system Scanner with Control

TOPDON ArtiDiag100 Professional Diagnostic Scan Tool
TOPDON auto scanner enables you to perform more advanced car diagnoses. Credit: Obdstation.com

TOPDON is one of the newer brands in the OBD2 scanner industry, but they are quickly starting to make a name for themselves. Seeing as they focus on innovation, I expected to see some interesting and unique features, and I wasn’t disappointed.

The ArtiDiag100 has a simple yet effective design that is very simple to use. There’s nothing I hate more than a bidirectional scan tool that is overly complicated. Thankfully, this TOPDON device managed to offer professional-grade functionality in an accessible package.

I got the best results when connecting this OBD scanner to an OBD adapter via WiFi, but it also met all my expectations when using it as a Bluetooth OBD2 scanner. It comes with a 12-month warranty and a year of free updates from the day you purchase.

My Thoughts and Impressions: 

As with any bidirectional scan tool, I could use the ArtiDiag 100 to directly control my car’s functions. I could easily command my vehicle to perform a specific task while simultaneously observing the resulting data on my scanner. 

The device is a bidirectional scan tool with programming capability, and can therefore facilitate complex functions such as ECU re-coding. I used ECU coding to properly set up new fuel injectors and run actuator tests, but I also tinkered around with this function to customize my car to a number of different specifications. 

Of course, you’ll also have access to all the basic functions that I always expect from the best bidirectional scan tools, such as code reading, oil reset, and DPF regeneration. I could easily complete all of these functions with the ArtiDiag 100. 


As with all of the scan tools on this list, the TOPDON device can be used with many different vehicle brands. Specifically, the scanner is compatible with 42 car makes from the European, Asian, and American automotive markets.

For all of these car manufacturers, you can expect this OBD2 scanner to give reliable and accurate readings. I was greatly impressed by what the ArtiDiag100 had to offer, especially when taking its relatively affordable price tag into account.

TOPDON ArtiDiag100 All-system Diagnostic Tool with Bidirectional Control
55 / 5
You can easily have accurate and professional diagnosis readings on a specific system to help turn off your vehicles warning light.

Pros and Cons:


  • Cool design and beginner-friendly interface
  • WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity 
  • Extensive programming capabilities 
  • Great all-in-one tool 


  • Only 42 compatible vehicle brands 

My Rating: 5 / 5

10. OTC 3893 Encore Professional Diagnostic Tool

OTC 3893 Encore Professional Wi-Fi Enabled Bi-directional Diagnostic Tool Kit
OTC 3893 is a professional tool kit for auto repair shop. Credit: Obdstation.com

The final option on my list of the best bidirectional scan tools is the 3893 Encore model from OTC. This device came with a comprehensive tool kit that ensured I had everything I needed to start running car diagnostics.

This kit includes OBD2 adapters for many different types of vehicles, USB charging cables for the scanner, and a protective carrying case. As a mechanic who often has to go on call-outs, I really appreciated the fact that the OTC 3893 has all the necessary equipment ready to go in one package. 

This bidirectional scan tool makes use of the reliable Android operating system, so I had no problem with the responsiveness and efficiency of the device. Android also goes through regular software updates, which means that the OTC 3893’s software won’t quickly become obsolete as is often the case with other OBD2 bidirectional scanners.

My Thoughts and Impressions: 

One of the best features of this scan tool is the all-in-one bidirectional check that it can run. All I had to do was simply set the test going, and the results from across all of my car’s systems were displayed in a matter of minutes. 

This check is extremely accurate and I found it to be a great place to start whenever a new vehicle arrived in my workshop. 

After running all the checks, I could then use the 3893 to help with any necessary repairs. For example, this OBD2 scanner has a very effective live data function that displays vehicle information in real-time. This allowed me to monitor how a car responded as I started to make repairs.

Additionally, the OTC has an auto-identification circuit that recognizes the make and model of a car as soon as it is connected to it. It does this by reading the VIN number of the car, and can then tailor its functions to suit the specific model.

This auto-identification operation is also useful for anyone who is buying a used car. I often deal with used cars, so I loved the auto-identification option, which allowed me to quickly confirm whether or not the private car seller was trying to finesse me out of my hard-earned money. 


When it comes to compatibility, this scanner goes above and beyond what is usually expected. Most devices are only compatible with vehicles built after 1996, but the OTC can be used with cars made as early as 1980.

This is because the OTC 3893 has an OBD1 circuit, which allows it to be compatible with older vehicles. Out of all the bidirectional scan tools I’ve tested, the OTC 3893 is the only one that has this function, making it truly stand out from the rest. 

This tool will help any workshop increase its capacity and ability to work with all kinds of vehicles. Whether you’re working with a brand new European car or an American hotrod from 1985, the OTC 3893 will always be able to help you out.

OTC 3893
OTC 3893 Encore Professional Bidirectional Scan Tool
3.83.8 / 5
This bidirectional scan tool stands far above the rest by including everything you need to be an expert technician in a compact kit.

Pros and Cons:


  • Great portability 
  • OBD1 functionality 
  • Auto-identification option 


  • Heavier than most models 
  • Lacks most programming features present in competition’s devices  

My Rating: 3.8 / 5


What is a bi-directional scan tool?

A bi-directional scanner is a type of OBD diagnostic tool that can send and receive information at the same time. This means that as well as being able to read diagnostic trouble codes (DTC) coming from the vehicle, it can also send commands back and potentially be able to make repairs all by itself.
Bi-directional scan tools are the standard choice in the professional workshop, thanks to their incredible versatility. They can save a mechanic loads of time and help them get through more jobs every day – from simple emissions issues to more complicated problems.
A bi-directional scan tool isn’t just suitable for professionals either. Their relative ease-of-use means that nearly all car owners will be able to get something out of them.
Being able to run your own diagnostics on your vehicle will mean you won’t have to shell out loads of cash for a professional repair when you don’t need to.

Differences between bi-directional vs normal scan tools?

The main difference between a normal and a bi-directional scan tool is that a normal scanner can only read data and cannot send information back to the vehicle. This means a normal OBD2 scanner is not capable of commanding a vehicle to perform functions on its own.
However, a normal scanner still has plenty of features that make it a viable and useful diagnostic tool. For example, it can display real-time data and capture freeze-frame information for easy performance analysis. A normal scanner is usually easy-to-use and can be great for amateur and professional mechanics alike.
Additionally, normal OBD2 scanners usually come with a significantly smaller price tag than bi-directional tools. If you don’t need the advanced features that a bi-directional scan tool has to offer, then there isn’t much point in paying the extra dough to get one.

How does bi-directional control work?

A bi-directional scan tool works by making use of specialized hardware that allows information to flow both ways between the tool and the vehicle. Because of this, the person using the tool can actually command the vehicle to perform various functions, such as opening the throttle or powering the ignition.
This allows mechanics to easily run tests on their vehicles without actually having to get in the driver’s seat. They can walk around the car whilst inputting commands on the bi-directional scan tool to see exactly how the vehicle systems respond.
As a result, a technician can pinpoint problems and issues with a vehicle without having to use a tedious trial-and-error approach. Being able to control a vehicle’s functions via an external tablet is a very powerful technique and can transform the way a workshop handles its jobs.

An affordable bi-directional scan tool?

Although a bi-directional scan tool is usually more expensive than one without the two-way controls, there are affordable options on the market. Of course, these devices won’t give you quite the same scope and functionality, but they are absolutely viable options.
One example of a cheaper bi-directional scan tool is ANCEL’s AD610 Elite. This bi-directional scan tool comes in at a very impressive price point, especially when you consider just how much it has to offer. There’s a full run-down of this product in my list above if you’d like some more information.
Foxwell’s NT630 Plus Scanner is another option that is much cheaper than the competition but doesn’t make too many sacrifices on functionality. Definitely another one to consider if you’re keen to find a bi-directional scan tool on a budget.

Should I buy a bi-directional scan tool?

This is probably the question I get asked most often when it comes to bi-directional scan tools and in most cases, my answer is yes! A bi-directional scan tool offers unrivaled functionality and does a lot of things that other types of scan tools just can’t compete with.
However, this functionality can come at a cost, and bi-directional scan tools are generally more expensive options. There are budget options available though, and I’ve included a couple of them in my list above.
I think that bi-directional scan tools are absolutely worth it for amateur and professional mechanics. These tools can greatly simplify a vehicle technician’s life and can complete jobs that are usually long and tedious in a matter of minutes.
It’s very unlikely that you’ll be disappointed after picking up your own bi-directional scan tool.

Bonus: 10 Best Professional OBD2 Scanners Review and Comparison 2021.

4.2/5 (27 Reviews)