Best Bidirectional Scan Tool for 2024 [Tested By A Mechanic]

Best Bidirectional Scan Tool

As a mechanic with four years of grease under my nails, I know how tricky it can be to pick the right bidirectional scan tool from all the options out there.

As a writer for ObdForCar, I perfectly know that. That’s why I’m asking you to stick with me through this article.

And to be completely honest, I’ve personally tried all of the tools I am gonna share with you today. And to clear things up there’s no “one fit for all”, everything depends on the cars you are planning to work on.


Every diagnostic tool on this list has its unique features and it’s better or worse for different makes and models.

In this article, I’m going to share my top 7 picks for bidirectional scan tools, giving you a quick overview of each one.

Keep in mind that all of these tools are based on my opinion and the practical knowledge I have. So even if any of them sounds like it could be the perfect fit for you, it’s still important to do deeper research before investing your own money. In fact, this is what I do every time before purchasing something.

The goal of this post is to make it unbiased as possible by sharing with you the good and the bad of every tool, which on the other hand will help you to make a smart choice.

As we continue, I’ll also share which one of these 7 tools is the best on the current market and which tool is best if you are on a budget.


Going forward I will also explain what bidirectional tools are, how to choose the one that perfectly fits you, and answer some FAQs.

So stick with me through the end of this article and let’s find out together.

Let’s dive in!

Understanding Bidirectional Scan Tools

A bidirectional scan tool connected to a car's diagnostic port

Receiving information between one device and another is usually called a bidirectional control and it is a widely used generic term.

What is a Bidirectional Scan Tool?

Unlike the generic code readers which are specifically designed to only read and delete error codes, the bidirectional scan tools can access different modules and give commands to perform a specific function. These functions may vary depending on what you need to achieve but they are often referred to as test functions.

Benefits of Using a Bidirectional Scan Tool

Using a bidirectional scan tool offers a lot of advantages over traditional OBD-II scanners. They give you access to a lot of vehicle systems, like the engine, transmission, ABS, and airbag modules.

This on the other hand helps you to make more precise diagnostics of the vehicle and dive deeper into the problem. With bidirectional tools, you can also reset service lights and do other maintenance tasks which make them essential tools, especially in the digital world we live in today.

7 Best Bidirectional Scan Tools For 2024

To help you make an informed decision, we have compiled a list of the top 7 bidirectional tools for 2024, complete with reviews, pros and cons, and hints on how they work.

Important NOTE: Most tools in this list provide all the essential functions and features like code reading, VIN Recognition, Live data streaming, actuation tests, and advanced diagnostic features. That’s why we will instead emphasize the unique features of every scan tool on this list so you can choose the best for your needs.

1. Launch X431 V Pro OBD2 Diagnostic Tool

Product Image
Check Price

The Launch X431 V Pro is compatible with over 150 US, Asian, and European vehicle makes, ensuring a wide range of applicability.

Key Features

  • Special Tests – Can perform actuation tests, adaptations, and even special functions such as injector coding, ABS bleeding, DPF regeneration, and throttle adaptation.
  • Two-way Control Capability – This means you can not only receive data from your vehicle’s systems but also actively send commands to test functionality. This feature is particularly useful for pinpointing issues that might not be apparent from static data alone.
  • User-Friendly – It comes with an 8-inch Lenovo tablet which is based on Android and that creates a user-friendly experience.
  • Wireless Connection – You can connect this tool via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, which makes it easy to communicate and removes the need for long cables.
  • Online Updates – This ensures that your tool is always equipped with the latest software.

It’s good to know that this tool comes with a 5-year warranty and 2 years of free software updates. After that, you will need to subscribe to an annual plan.

The good thing is that you can still use the tool after the subscription ends. you will just not receive updates.


  • Advanced Functionality
  • Extensive Vehicle Coverage


  • Higher Price – Might be expensive for DIY enthusiasts
  • Complexity – It has a lot of features and takes time to get familiar with it

2. ANCEL AD610 Elite Scanning Tool

Product Image
Check Price

The Ancel AD610 tool stands out with its advanced features, including ABS, SRS, Engine, and Transmission diagnostics, making it a versatile tool for you, whether you’re an automotive professional or enthusiast.

Here are some key features to consider:

  • SAS Calibration – The AD610 allows you to calibrate your steering angle sensor (SAS), which is not offered by many tools in this price range.
  • ABS/SRS Diagnostic – While most of the tools offer this feature, with the AD610 you can dive deeper which allows you not only to clear codes but to also perform tests and properly diagnose these important safety systems.
  • Wide Coverage – It supports all 10 OBDII test modes for a wide range of vehicles including newer OBDII & CAN domestic, Asian, and European vehicles.


  • User-friendly – Easy to use and good for DIY enthusiasts.
  • Quality Construction – This makes it perfect for daily use and it can withstand serious damage.


  • Software Updates – While it offers software updates, some users often report that it can be challenging and time-consuming.
  • Limited Advanced Functions – Although the AD610 offers some advanced functions they may vary depending on the year and the model of the vehicle.
  • While the ANCEL AD610 offers a user-friendly interface it’s important to mention that it can require some learning before getting comfortable with it.

3. FOXWELL NT630 Plus Scanner

Product Image
Check Price

The FOXWELL NT630 Plus Scanner is a budget-friendly option that delivers efficient performance and advanced functions similar to more expensive models.

Key Features

  • Active Test – Compared to many other scanners, the NT630 Plus offers an active test function. This allows you to activate or control ABS/SRS systems or components. Considering the price range of this tool, this feature is really powerful.
  • Bi-directional Control – This is the feature that sets the NT630 Plus apart. It allows you to send commands to the vehicle to test the functionality of various systems, giving you a deeper understanding of any issues.
  • Lifetime Free Updates – This feature is another benefit of this tool which makes it a perfect choice for DIY enthusiasts. Getting free lifetime updates at this price range is surely a rare thing and it deserves to be mentioned.


  • Deep ABS and SRS diagnostics
  • Wide vehicle coverage


  • May not support very recent vehicle models
  • Some users report difficulty with the update process

Note: Depending on which vehicles you are planning to use this tool, it’s important to check its compatibility before purchasing.

4. Autel MaxiPRO MP900-BT Scanner

Product Image
Check Price

The Autel MaxiPRO MP900-BT is a popular bidirectional scan tool with Bluetooth connectivity and the ability to connect to an oscilloscope.

The Autel is not just any random scanner on the market. This scanner is a really powerful tool and it is certainly not easy to use. It requires a deep understanding of all the vehicle’s modules and it’s an end-to-end diagnostic solution.

Here are some key features:

  • Advanced ECU Coding – This feature allows you to establish a data link to the electronic control system of the vehicle and perform deep coding functions.
  • Wireless Connectivity – This is particularly useful when you need to move around the vehicle when performing a diagnosis.
  • OE-Level Functionality – This means that you can perform everything from basic diagnostics to advanced programming and coding. In that case, this tool is unmatched.
  • Wide Coverage – As expected from a high-end tool like the MS906BT it supports over 80 makes and models from all around the world.


  • Offers advanced ECU coding and programming
  • Wireless connectivity allows for better mobility and simplifies the diagnosis process.


  • The price point is higher than most of the tools and it’s not good for DIY enthusiasts.
  • Some users have reported that the tool may have compatibility issues with certain vehicle models. Always check vehicle compatibility before purchase.

You can check the compatibility of the Autel Maxisys MS906BT for more information.

5. Ancel FX6000

Product Image
Check Price

The ANCHEL FX6000 is an all-in-one tool that is suitable for both enthusiasts and experienced mechanics. This tool can meet all of your vehicle diagnostic needs at a mid-range price making it a serious consideration.

Let’s mention a few of the key features:

  • A lot of connectors – It comes with 11 OBD connectors, allowing you to test more cars.
  • Online coding – It can perform advanced online coding on some special vehicles without using expensive original equipment.
  • Advanced Functions – The FX6000 can perform a wide variety of advanced functions such as DPF Regeneration, SAS Calibration, EPB Reset, and more.
  • Free Online Updates – It offers 2 years of free online updates and it remains usable after that period.


  • Supports a wide range of vehicle makes and models.
  • Offers advanced diagnostic functions not commonly found in other tools in the same price range.


  • The software updates can be a bit tricky to install.
  • Some users reported compatibility issues with certain vehicle models.

6. Launch X431 V+

Product Image
Check Price

The Launch X431 V+ is another highly recommended bi-directional scan tool, offering many of the same diagnostic functions as the X431 Pro.

Let’s mention some of its features:

  • Key Programming – the Launch X431 V+ provides the ability to program new keys with its IMMO servicing function.
  • Big Language Support – The X431 V+ offers up to 24 languages, which makes it even easier to use in your native language.
  • Advanced Functions – Of course at this price point it’s completely normal to have advanced functions like ECU coding, active test, and service functions like oil reset, ABS bleeding, and injector coding.
  • Remote Diagnosis – This feature can be really powerful because it allows you to diagnose vehicles when they are not physically present.


  • High-quality Hardware
  • Wireless Convenience
  • Broad Coverage


  • Size and Weight
  • Learning Curve
  • Higher Price

7. INNOVA 5610

Product Image
Check Price

The INNOVA 5610 is a budget-friendly, bi-directional scanner with limited advanced functions but fast scanning capabilities and basic reset functions.

Not only that, but it also comes with the app RepairSolutions2 for both IOS and Android users.

This makes it perfect for DIY enthusiasts but it’s also a powerful tool for any garage on a budget.

Here are some features: 

  • Battery & Charging System Test – This feature checks the performance of your car’s battery and charging system, so you can make sure that they are in optimal condition.
  • Smog Test – This feature helps you to check if your vehicle is ready for an emission test. It can be pretty useful to avoid any penalties.
  • RepairSolutions2 App – This app guides you through the process with verified fixes for the issues that your car is facing, the parts needed for the repair, and more.


  • It offers advanced features like ABS and SRS diagnostics, which are not commonly found in tools of this price range.
  • The RepairSolutions2 App makes it easy even for beginners.


  • The RepairSolutions2 App requires a subscription for full access to features.
  • Reports from users that it can be more user-friendly.

Choosing The Bidirectional Scan Tool For Your Needs

A mechanic using a bidirectional scan tool to diagnose a car

Now that we’ve explored the 7 bidirectional scan tools (from our perspective), let’s explain how to properly choose the one that fits you the best.

When choosing a tool, it’s important to consider factors such as cost, compatibility with various models of vehicles, user-friendliness, and the ability to perform various tests and functions.

Compatibility with Vehicle Brands and Models

Compatibility with vehicle brands and models is a crucial factor when choosing a bidirectional scan tool. A tool that is compatible with a wide range of vehicles, like the Launch X431 V+, ensures that it can be used on the majority of cars you may work on.

Functionality is also important when selecting a bidirectional scan tool, as they require more advanced capabilities than traditional diagnostic scanners. The Launch X431 V+ offers extensive vehicle coverage, making it a top choice for professionals and DIY enthusiasts.

Range of Functions and Features

A bidirectional scan tool should possess a comprehensive range of functions and features to be advantageous to mechanics. These tools should be capable of sending commands to the vehicle and retrieving data from it, providing more in-depth diagnostics than a regular OBD-II scanner.

Choosing a tool with a broad range of functions and features, such as the Launch X431 V Pro or the ANCEL AD610 Elite, ensures that you have the capabilities to diagnose and repair a variety of vehicle issues.

Ease of Use and Interface

User-friendliness and interface are important factors to consider when selecting a bidirectional scan tool. A tool with an intuitive interface and easy-to-use features will make the diagnostic process smoother and more efficient.

Both the Launch X431 V Pro and the ANCEL AD610 Elite Scanning Tool offer user-friendly interfaces, making them excellent choices for mechanics and car owners alike.

Types of Bidirectional Scan Tools

A handheld bidirectional scan tool

In this article, I’ve primarily focused on handheld devices and standalone tools, as they are the most common types used by professionals and DIY enthusiasts.

However, it’s worth noting that there are also PC/Notebook/Android or iOS-based scanners available, though we won’t be covering them in-depth here.

Handheld Devices

These tools are often more affordable and reliable than their alternatives, with an LCD screen for displaying sensor data and diagnostic information.

Handheld devices offer a balance between functionality and affordability, making them a popular choice among car owners and mechanics.

PC/Notebook/Android or iOS-based Scanners

PC/Notebook/Android or iOS-based scanners are another types of bidirectional scan tool, offering similar capabilities to handheld devices and standalone tools.

These scanners often require additional software and hardware to function, making them less portable and more complex to set up and use.

Standalone Scan Tools and Advanced Handheld Scanners

A PC/Notebook/Android or iOS-based scanner

Standalone tools and advanced handheld scanners combine the best features of handheld devices and PC/Notebook/Android or iOS-based scanners, providing a more versatile and powerful diagnostic experience. These tools often come in the form of a tablet, running an operating system such as Android, and are designed to be both practical and user-friendly.

Standalone scan tools and advanced handheld scanners are becoming increasingly popular among professionals thanks to their comprehensive features and ease of use.

The Best Bidirectional Scan Tool (Mechanic’s Opinion)

A mechanic connecting a bidirectional scan tool to a car's diagnostic port

As a mechanic or a DIY enthusiast, you want the best tools at your disposal to diagnose and repair vehicles quickly and accurately. Based on our research and experience, we believe the Launch X431 V Pro is the best available tool.

Meanwhile, the ANCEL AD610 Elite Scanning Tool is the best budget option.

The Best Overall – Launch X431 V Pro OBD2 Diagnostic Tool

The Launch X431 V Pro stands out as the best overall bidirectional scan tool due to its powerful features and compatibility with a variety of vehicles. With its extensive range of functions and features, it can diagnose and repair a lot of vehicle issues, making it one of the best on the current market.

Its user-friendliness further improves its capabilities and ensures that you can quickly and easily diagnose and repair vehicles.

The Best Budget – ANCEL AD610 Elite Scanning Tool

For those on a budget, the ANCEL AD610 Elite is an excellent choice, offering advanced functions and features at an affordable price. This tool is perfect for both DIY enthusiasts and professional mechanics, as it can be used to diagnose and repair a wide range of vehicle issues.

With a one-year warranty, the ANCEL AD610 Elite is a reliable and cost-effective option for anyone in need of a bidirectional scan tool.

FAQs About Bidirectional Scan Tools

A bidirectional scan tool displaying live data from the engine control module during a diagnostic scan.

Before wrapping up, let’s address some frequently asked questions about bidirectional tools, including their advantages, the systems they can access, how they differ from regular OBD-II scanners, and their compatibility with various car brands.

What are the advantages of using a bidirectional scan tool?

The main advantage of using a bi-directional scan tool is its ability to provide more detailed diagnostics and control over a vehicle’s systems compared to a regular OBD-II scanner.
Additionally, a bi directional scan tool can reset and reprogram specific systems, making them an indispensable tool for any mechanic or car owner.

Which systems can be accessed with a bidirectional scan tool?

A bidirectional scan tool can access and control a wide range of vehicle systems, such as the engine, transmission, ABS, airbag, and more. This provides mechanics with a more in-depth view of the vehicle’s systems, allowing them to diagnose and repair issues more accurately and efficiently.

Moreover, bi directional scan tools can also be used to access and control the vehicle’s onboard diagnostics (OBD) system, as well as read and clear diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs).

How is a bidirectional scan tool different from a regular OBD-II scanner?

While both bidirectional scan tools and regular OBD-II scanners can read and clear diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs), bidirectional scan tools offer additional capabilities that set them apart.
These tools can perform bi-directional tests and control certain components of the vehicle(which OBD scanners can’t), providing more comprehensive diagnostics and repair options.

Can a bidirectional scan tool be used for all car brands?

While many bidirectional scan tools are compatible with a wide range of car brands, it is important to confirm the compatibility of the tool with the specific car brand you plan to work on before making a purchase. Some tools may have limitations in terms of the systems they can access or the functions they can perform on certain car brands.

Always check the manufacturer’s specifications and customer reviews to ensure the tool you choose will work with the vehicles you plan to service.


As an end to this blog post, the Launch X431 V Pro OBD2 Diagnostic Tool is a great choice if you want the best of the best. But if you’re watching your budget, the ANCEL AD610 Elite Scanning Tool is a fantastic option too.

As I’ve said in the beginning it’s important to do your own deeper research based on your specific needs and vehicles you are working on.

No matter which one you choose, having a bidirectional scan tool will make you even better at diagnosing and fixing vehicles.

So, get ready to solve car problems like a pro!

Leave a Comment