Home » Code Readers & Scan Tools » 7 Best Bidirectional Scan Tools Review 2019

7 Best Bidirectional Scan Tools Review 2019

Bidirectional scan tools let you send and receive data to and from a car’s control modules. It’s an advanced functionality that is not offered by a basic obd2 scan tool but only by a bidirectional scan tool.

The main aim of a bidirectional scan tool is to request the control module to perform a specific function. These functions can be system tests, actuator tests,  functional tests, inspection tests, reprogramming or reinitialization.

Bidirectional scan tools reduce your diagnostic time. Suppose you connected a fuel pressure gauge, cycled the key and cranked the engine. However, you couldn’t figure out anything regarding the fuel pressure.

Now, you are in the dark and unaware if there’s a problem with the component or the circuit. Moreover, something might be wrong with the vehicle’s computer system.

Here, a bi-directional tool will help. There are many commands that let you send a request to the vehicle’s components and enable them.

In this case, you will send a fuel pump command on instruction and you’d be able to see the proper fuel pressure. Hence, you will know if there’s a problem with the fuel pump circuit or pump.

We have shortlisted a few best among many bidirectional scan tools on the market on the basis of features, price, compatibility, and connectivity.

In this article, we will explain both the strengths and weaknesses of these products so that you can choose one that best fits your needs.

Best Bidirectional Scan Tools Review

1. Autel Maxidas DS808 Automotive Diagnostic Tool OBD2 Scanner

Autel Maxidas DS808
Autel Maxidas DS808(Upgraded Version of DS708) Automotive Diagnostic Tool OBD2 Scanner
4.34.3 / 5
The Best OBD Scanner for Deeper Scans and Advanced Diagnostics

Autel Maxidas DS808 is a 7-inch touchscreen scanner that operates on Android and has 32 GB memory. It’s actually an upgraded version of DS708 and has many advanced features along with the ones that were in DS708.

 Autel Maxidas DS808
The super practical function of Autel Maxidas DS808.
Credit: Amazon.com

Strengths Of Autel Maxidas DS808

Control Advanced Functions: With this scanner, you can perform the following functions:

  • ECU information.
  • Active Tests.
  • Matching. Adaptation
  • Perform active tests.
  • Bi-directional control ability (perform the active test to determine problems in specific components).
  • ABS
  • SRS
  • SAS
  • DPF
  • EPB
  • TPMS
  • Key coding.
  • Oil reset.

With these capabilities, you can figure out most of the complex problems in your car, especially the specific ones thanks to the bidirectional controls.

Cloud-Based Data Management: Autel Maxidas DS808  has a cloud-based management system that lets you arrange, store, input, and view scanner data, codes, and reports.

The scanner tool also supports WiFi and printing tasks.

Battery Power: The battery provides 4.5 hours of constant use. This means that you won’t have worry about your scanner giving out charge just after performing one full scan. It is meant to run longer which is a great plus.

Downside Of The Product

The downside of the product is that there’s no Bluetooth connectivity and the key coding feature might not work in some models such as the 2012 Ford Edge.

Compatibility

Supports more than 80 US, Asian and European car models (1996 and newer) that are obd2 compliant and also supports other electronic systems.

Pros

  • Auto VIN technology.
  • Works with diesel models too.
  • Stores diagnostic history.
  • Supports BMW battery (Resetting as well).
  • 1-year warranty and free lifetime updates.

Cons

  • Doesn’t have a complete OBD1 adapter (buy separately).
  • Expensive.
  • Batteries are not reliable.

Who Is It Built For?

Professionals and mechanics can use this scanner to correct complex and simple car issues.

2. LAUNCH X431 V (X431 Pro) Bidirectional OBD2 Diagnostic Scanner

LAUNCH X431 V
LAUNCH X431 V (X431 Pro) 8inch WiFi/Bluetooth Full System Diagnostic Tool
4.14.1 / 5
The device covers the widest range of vehicles in the world making it the essential gadget for all automotive experts and beginners.

One of the best bidirectional scan tools on the market is the Launch X431 V. It offers actuator tests, 11 advanced functionalities and a plethora of basic functionalities, too.

Strengths Of Launch X431 V

Bidirectional Control: With this automotive diagnostic tool, you can perform actuator tests (testing the output elements). This feature lets you know if a specific system, component or a subsystem is functioning properly or not.

For example, if you carry out an actuation test on a radiator fan, if it turns on when the radiator fan is working fine but if it doesn’t then there might be an issue with the wires, replays or the fan.

This feature is not available in conventional code readers.

Diagnose Your Car Remotely: This obd2 scan tool doesn’t involve any wires. Instead, it’s a tablet that lets you diagnose your car easily. In fact, you can also connect it to any smartphone, tablet or a computer as well.

Advanced Features: Launch X431 V offers 11 advanced features including DPF, EPB, Steering Angle Calibration, oil lamp reset, TPMS reset, immobilizer matching, battery register, battery maintenance, ABS bleeding, throttle position reset and learn.

Downsides

While it’s a great product, for some users, it may be too heavy at about 11 pounds.

Launch X431 V
Launch X431 V offers 11 advanced features.
Credit: Amazon.com

Compatibility

Supports Asian, European, American and China, up to 94 car brands and over 10,000 car models.

Pros

  • Runs for longer on battery – 8 hours.
  • Free WiFi printer.
  • 2 years warranty.
  • Offers 23 languages to choose from.
  • Works on diesel cars as well (12V).

Cons

  • Cannot reprogram a dash cluster to a new Pat’s security ignition key.
  • Doesn’t calibrate proximity for all car models.
  • Cannot work with heavy duty model.

Who Is It Built For?

It’s an advanced bi-directional scanner built for both mechanics and professionals.

3. LAUNCH X431 HTT BiDirectional Automotive OBD2 Scanner Diagnostic Scan tool With Key Programming

Launch X4331 HTT will help you do a number of basic, advanced and bidirectional controlling tasks with ease. With it, you can read code definitions, see wire diagrams and get to know preferrable fixes.

It offers 15 advanced functions that will help you determine if each component of your car is working fine or not.

LAUNCH X431 HTT
LAUNCH X431 HTT Bi-Directional Automotive OBD2 Scanner Diagnostic Scan tool
4.14.1 / 5
LAUNCH X431 HTT is the ideal scanner for professional mechanics and auto repair stores to perform all-around fixes and comprehensive tests.

Strengths Of Launch X431 HTT

Actuator Testing: With this feature, you can input commands into the ECU and read ECU data. You can also monitor the operations that are performed by the actuator and even switch an injector between two states.

In short, actuator testing helps you determine problems in the subsystems of the car and carry out various component tests as well.

It offers many other bidirectional features, too, such as gear learning, injector coding, sunroof initialization, suspension matching, and gearbox matching.

Intelligent Diagnosis: Thanks to the VIN feature, the device connects automatically to your car using the Bluetooth feature.

Launch X4331 HTT
Launch X4331 HTT offers the intelligent diagnosis.
Credit: Amazon.com

Advanced Features: Launch X431 HTT provides with 15 advanced features including DPF, EPB, throttle adaptation, oil reset, ABS bleeding, Steering angle reset, Anti-theft matching, Tire Pressure Reset, Battery Matching, IMMO, BMS, SRS, ECU coding etc.

Downsides Of The Product

While the product is quite good, many users find it to be too expensive.

Compatibility

It covers around 90% models of Asian, European and American cars including many brands such as Koda, Opel, Rover, Ford, Lincoln, GM, Honda, Acura, Lexus, BYD, Geely, and Lifan.

Pros

  • Excellent customer support with a 2-year free software update.
  • A high-end processor for fast operation
  • 13mp rear camera to take photos.
  • 12-month warranty.
  • Built-in GPS.

Cons

  • Cannot support some 2018 models, such as 2018 Kia Nero.
  • Hard to handle due to the weight (17.25 pounds)

Who Is It Built For?

Professional mechanics and auto repair stores will love this. It offers many basic and advanced features to solve both easy and complex issues easily.

4. LAUNCH X431 DIAGUN IV Bi-Directional Automotive OBD2, Diagnostic Tool

What makes this one of the best bidirectional scan tools is its ability to connect via Bluetooth, allow internet connectivity via WiFi and support USB 2.0 as well.

LAUNCH X431 DIAGUN IV
LAUNCH X431 DIAGUN IV Bi-Directional Automotive OBD2 Diagnostic Tool
4.44.4 / 5
LAUNCH X431 Diagun IV is a highly-portable, drop-tested and waterproof Android-based scan tool tablet

Strengths Of Launch X431 DIAGUN IV

Advanced Features: Key Fob Programming, ABS, SRS, TPMS, ABS Bleeding Brake, Reset Functions Including Oil Reset, Oil lamp reset, BRT, Anti Theft Matching, ECU Coding, EPB, SAS, DPF, BMS, Injector Coding, Gear Learning, Immobilizer Matching, and Throttle Matching are some of the advanced features this scanner offers.

Other than that, it can also perform basic functions such as running diagnostics, and clearing codes.

Camera: This scanner comes with two built-in cameras. The front one is a 2mp camera while the rear is a 5.5mp camera. Moreover, there’s also a 3.5mm audio port for headphones.

Battery: The battery runs for 8 hours constantly which is a great plus.

LAUNCH X431 DIAGUN IV
LAUNCH X431 DIAGUN IV is easy-to-use and is able to connect via Bluetooth.
Credit: Amazon.com

Bidirectional Controls: Let’s you perform actuation tests, matching and seek problems in specific components of subsystems.

Downside Of The Product

The downside of the device is that it’s quite expensive and does not support all vehicles.

Compatibility

It covers around 90 car brands, up to 10,000 car models that are obd2 compliant.

Pros

  • Free updates for 2 years.
  •  Waterproof.
  • Camera and headphone support
  • Easy sign up process on the website.
  • Allows internet connectivity through WiFi.

Cons

  • The updates can be slow to arrive.
  • Some users may have trouble with software installation.

Who Is It Built For?

This scanner lets you run various kinds of diagnostic tests and solve complex problems.

5. Autel Maxisys Pro MS908P Automotive Diagnostic Bidirectional Scan Tool With J2534 Reprogramming

This automotive diagnostic tool offers everything that you need to keep your car away from issues. You can perform coding, programming and do advanced functionalities as well. With this wireless tool, you can control your car’s components, sensors and subsystems as well.

Autel Maxisys Pro MS908P
Autel Maxisys Pro MS908P Automotive Diagnostic Scanner With ECU Coding and J2534 Reprogramming
4.34.3 / 5
Autel MaxiSys Pro MS908P is the best quality scanner for mechanic shops

Strengths Of Launch X431 DIAGUN IV

ECU Programming And Coding: The highlight of this scanner is its ability to perform flash ECU coding and programming using an interface that’s SAE J2534-1 & -2 compliant vehicle programming.

More Advanced Features:

  • ECU Programming and coding for Benz and BMW.
  • AUTO VIN.
  • Oil Reset.
  • Injector Programming.
  • EPB
  • IMMO
  • ABS Bleeding.
  • A/C initialization.
  • DPF
  • SAS
  • Throttle Matching.

Battery Time: You can run this 9.7-inch tablet scanner for 8 straight hours without having to worry about charging in.

Autel Maxisys Pro MS908P
Autel Maxisys Pro MS908P is fast, smart, mobile and powerful.
Credit: Amazon.com

Compatibility

It supports 80 US, Asian, and European makes and models that are obd2 compliant.

The drawback is that ECU coding and programming is only for BENZ and BMW.

Pros

  • Professional cloud based support from Maxifix (a platform that connects technicians online).
  • Add-ons can be attached (MaxiScope Oscilloscope and video inspection camera MV108&MV105).
  • Comes with a free battery tester.
  • Very small and lightweight, hence easy to handle.

Cons

  • Can’t relearn TPMS Sensors.
  • Very expensive.
  • Replacement parts (battery) can be hard to find.

Who Is It Built For?

This OBDII scan tool is perfect for professional users who want to use advanced features to keep their car in a good shape.

6. Autel Maxisys MS906 Professional Automotive Bidirectional Scan Tool

Autel MS906 operates on Android and has a 1.3 GHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 + 1.7 GHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A15. This high-end processor is the reason why this scanner performs fast scans and draws quick results.

It offers both common and advanced features.

Autel Maxisys MS906
Autel Maxisys MS906 Automotive Diagnostic Scanner Scan Tool Code Reader
4.34.3 / 5
Autel MaxiSYS MS906 is a perfect device for doing significant vehicle repair and maintenance works.

Strengths Of Maxisys MS906

Battery Time: This obdII scan tool has a power packed battery of 5000 mAh which can last for 5 hours easily.

AutoVIN Technology: With this feature, you can easily identify your vehicles among many.

Advanced Functions: Autel MS906 can perform a variety of professional diagnostics such as ABS, SRS, ECU coding, EPB, actuation tests, adaptations, TPMS programming, oil reset, SAS calibration, and DPF.

Camera: There’s also an 8MP camera to capture pictures and make videos.

Autel MS906
Autel MS906 can perform a variety of professional diagnostics.
Credit: Amazon.com

Downside Of The Product

The downside of the product is that it supports ECU programming for Benz and BMW only.

Pros

  • Incredibly fast.
  • Updates easily after registration.
  • Enough memory to save previous data (32GB)

Cons

  • Batteries fail early.

Compatibility

MS906 supports more than 80 car brands including Chevrolet, Ford, GM, Audi, Benz, BMW, and Dodge.

Supports all 1996 and newer obd2 compliant models.

Connects wirelessly, supports WiFi and Bluetooth, too.

Who Is It Built For?

MS906 is for professionals as it is among the best Autel scanners.

7. OTC 3893 Encore Professional WI-FI Enabled Diagnostic Tool Kit

OTC 3893 Encore is your one-stop shop to perform DTCs from a database of 30 million repair solutions. With this scanner, you can find out the most complex of problems in your car and get to know about a viable fix.

It supports a wide range of vehicles and operates on Android.

OTC 3893 Encore
OTC 3893 Encore Professional WI-FI Enabled Diagnostic Tool Kit
3.93.9 / 5
The OTC 3893 Encore Deluxe Kit is a powerful professional diagnostic tool at an affordable price point for every technician.

Strengths Of OTC 3893 Encore

Autodetect: OTC has an autodetect technology that takes you from DTC to repair solution with a single click.

Offers Quick Fixes: Identifix integration offers a quick repair solution by offering fixes according to the make, model, and year of your vehicle. The WiFi technology adds up to it by offering Google searching on this tablet scanner.

Features: It performs both basic and advanced features including actuator tests, key fob programming, ABS bleed, flash reprogram, program TPMS sensors, reset ABS etc.

OTC 3893 Encore
OTC 3893 Encore performs both basic and advanced features.
Credit: Amazon.com

Downside Of The Product

It’s very expensive.

Pros

  • Lifetime hardware warranty.
  • Auto ID’s vehicle in 10 seconds.
  • 30 million repair solutions available in the database.
  • Works without an internet connection. However, you’ll need it for updates and aux features.
  • Boots up quickly.

Cons

  • Doesn’t have a scope function.
  • Expensive

Compatibility

Supports all Asian, American and European vehicles that are obd2 supported.

Who Is It Built For?

It is for professionals who want to perform advanced functions such as key programming and similar functionalities.

Editor’s Top 3 Picks

Autel Maxisys MS906
Autel Maxisys MS906 Automotive Diagnostic Scanner Scan Tool Code Reader
LAUNCH X431 DIAGUN IV
LAUNCH X431 DIAGUN IV Bi-Directional Automotive OBD2 Diagnostic Tool
Autel Maxidas DS808
Autel Maxidas DS808(Upgraded Version of DS708) Automotive Diagnostic Tool OBD2 Scanner
Customer Rating:
4.34.3 / 5
4.44.4 / 5
4.34.3 / 5
Priceautel ms906 pricelaunch x431 diagun IV priceautel maxidas ds808 price
ProsUpdates easily after registration and has enough memory to save previous dataSupport camera and headphone and easy sign up process on the website.Stores diagnostic history and supports BMW battery.
Cons- Batteries fail early.
- Some users may have trouble with software installation.- Doesn’t have a complete OBD1 adapter
- Batteries are not reliable.
Bottom LineFor professionals as it is among the best Autel scanners.Run various kinds of diagnostic tests and solve complex problems.Professionals and mechanics can use this scanner
Check Price

The Bottom line

It’s important that you choose the best bidirectional scan tool for your car if you have the in-depth knowledge regarding cars. These are a bit expensive but they will surely help you save money in the long-run.

This has just 5 reviews and 20 questions on Amazon and no decent third-party reviews. I’m surprised it’s this heavy but that’s what Amazon and other sites say

0/5 (0 Reviews)
Tim MillerFounderOBD Advisor

I knew incidentally what an OBD scanner was by searching on the Internet. Now I have over 10 years of experience in car repair and using OBD scanners. With what I know, I think I should share with everyone. That’s the reason I created this blog.

Web: https://www.obdadvisor.comEmail: [email protected]
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