Which document scanner is best?
A reliable document scanner can help you archive your paperwork or send documents. Document scanners have a wide range of different connectivity, features and capabilities, so it’s important to figure out what you need and want before purchasing a document scanner. Scanners can last you for years and end and tend to have multiple features beyond just scanning images and documents, including making editable documents with OCR. The quality and portability of the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300i Portable Color Duplex Document Scanner make it the best pick for anyone to buy.
What to know before you buy a document scanner
Consider the type of scanner you want
There are a few different kinds of document scanners, including portable scanners, sheet-fed scanners and flatbed scanners. Flatbed scanners come with a fixed glass bed with a hinged lid. To scan a document or image, place it on the bed and close the lid. Flatbed scanners usually have a higher resolution than sheet-fed scanners do.
Sheet-fed scanners look like printers or sheet-feeders on copy machines. You place your document at the top of the sheet-fed scanner, and the machine spits the document out of the other end after scanning. One of the top benefits of sheet-fed scanners is that you can place an entire stack of paperwork in the scanner and leave it to scan all of the papers. The sheet-fed document scanner is also perfect for office use and people who need to scan a high volume of paper.
Portable scanners are perfect for those who need to scan documents to their laptops while on the go. One of the biggest advantages of portable scanners is that they are simple and compact. Many portable scanners are battery-operated, so you can use the scanner even if you don’t have any access to a power outlet.
Find the right resolution for you
The scanner resolution is typically measured in dots per inch (DPI), and the higher the number of dots per inch, the better the quality of the scanned images. The 600-1,200 dot per inch range works best for basic flatbed scanners.
What to look for in a quality document scanner
Duplexing refers to the ability to scan both sides of a sheet of paper at the same time. Both portable and sheet-fed scanners are capable of duplexing, but not all of these scanners have a duplexing scanner. If you regularly scan large numbers of double-sided documents, you should look for a document scanner with a duplexing feature.
Most document scanners connect to a computer directly through a USB cable, but some document scanners have wireless networking features. This is useful if you want to send a document wirelessly to your device without a USB port.
Optical character recognition
Also known as OCR, optical character recognition is a great function that turns a scanned document into an editable text file instead of scanning it as an image. This can save you plenty of time if you would otherwise need to type up the document by hand.
How much you can expect to spend on a document scanner
You can expect to spend different amounts, depending on the type of document scanner. Flatbed scanners cost about $50-$400, sheet-fed scanners cost about $150-$1,000 and portable scanners go for about $50-$300.
Document scanner FAQ
Can your scanner only scan images or documents into a computer?
A. Some document scanners can only scan images and documents into computers, while other scanners can connect to Apple and Android devices through a Wi-Fi connection and deliver documents and images directly to your smartphone or tablet.
Can you scan negatives with a scanner?
A. Yes, you can scan negatives with a scanner, but you need a transparency adaptor, and the scanner needs to be a flatbed scanner with a resolution of 1,200 dots per inch or more.
What kind of software should your scanner come with?
A. Different scanners come with different types of software that can make your life a little easier and improve your scanning experience. For example, some come with OCR software, PDF converters, software for compiling business or tax reports or photo editing software with color restoration. Some software allows you to manage your scanned documents so you can send them to different online locations or directly email them to people.
What’s the best document scanner to buy?
Top document scanner
What you need to know: This portable and expert recommended scanner from Fujitsu captures top-quality color documents without needing any accessories.
What you’ll love: This Fujitsu scanner has multiple helpful features, including the ability to scan uniquely shaped images and dual-side scanning in one single pass. The portable scanner also lasts several scans without any loss of quality.
What you should consider: Some customers said the software included with the document scanner was a nuisance.
Top document scanner for the money
What you need to know: This Canon CanoScan document scanner features a standard scanner design without any of the extra bulk.
What you’ll love: This Canon scanner is simple to use, particularly for people who aren’t very tech-savvy. There is also a quick guided option for saving, copying and sending scans at the push of a button.
What you should consider: Some users confused this Canon document scanner for a Mac setup.
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This simple and solid document scanner from Brother is an excellent option for its versatility, great resolution and scanning speed.
What you’ll love: This Brother document scanner features a featherweight design, a small footprint, a 50-page capacity, reliable crystal-clear scans and the ability to quickly scan single- and double-sided documents.
What you should consider: The USB 2.0 connections to this Brother document scanner are fairly outdated.
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Alex Kilpatrick writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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