Scanners help you turn a variety of documents and photos into electronic files on your PC. Scanners can also turn transparent materials such as slides and negatives into electronic files on your computer. Our editors went through expert testing websites and read user reviews in order to create this detailed report for our users.
How to buy a scanner
There are different things you need to know but one of the most important is to know what you need the scanner for, as well as how often you would need to scan. We have the flatbed scanners which can scan a variety of items ranging from documents to transparent materials such as films and negatives. They are quite versatile and cheaper than specific function scanners on the market. They are also a much safer bet when you are scanner delicate materials such as film or slides and are quite essential when handling bonded materials like magazines. We also have sheet-feed scanners which are designed for scanning lots of loose pages and documents. High-end photo scanners are designed for scanning high-resolution images. They are specifically designed for this. High-end photo scanners are relatively more expensive but they are the best for high-res images. They can also scan films or negatives, although flatbed scanners can do this so well also.
Another consideration, you need to look into is the resolution that you would need. If you are scanning plain text documents or business graphics, resolution won’t be much if a problem. A scanner with a 300 dpi is more than enough for this activity. IF you would be scanning high-resolution images, you would need a scanner with at least 600 dpi. For the finest detail or for scanning at a much larger size, you would need a scanner with a higher resolution of at least 4,800 dpi. The color depth of the scanner is also important for you to look at. Color depth refers to how many variations of colors the scanner can see. The average photo scanner has about 48-bit color depth.
Do you like to scan in bulk? If you like to scan in batches you would need a scanner with ADF (automatic document feeder) with a capacity greater than or equal to the number of pages that you would need to scan at a go. The size of the documents to be scanned would also influence your buying decision. The larger the scanning area, the larger the larger the document or photo you can produce.
Features of top scanners
- Jam free operation. You would need a scanner that can work for a set period of time without jamming, sticking or pulling paper in crooked. The best document scanner usually comes with a high capacity feed tray for setting up the pages you want to scan. Once, you set them up, they should be able to scan automatically without being jammed.
- High scanning speed. You need a scanner that can go through the documents as quickly as possible and still produce great results. Calculating the page-per-minute rate can be a confusing as higher resolution scans take more time but you can always compare the ppm rates for the same type of documents as well as resolution.
- High-end software. In other to fully enjoy your scanner and make use of some extra functionality like optical character recognition (OCR) software which is needed to convert scanned text into editable documents.
- You need a warranty for your office equipment and the standard for scanners is a one-year warranty and this is a good start for your scanner.
Types of Scanners
Scanners come in different shapes and sizes for specific purposes. We have the general purpose scanners as well as the specific type of scanners. The most common types are the following:
These are scanners in which you place your document on a flat (scanbed), close the lid before scanning. Flatbed scanners work for documents, photos, bound materials like magazines and even three-dimensional objects that are light. Flatbed scanners don’t require you putting anything through a document feeder.
These scanners are used for archiving lots of unbound pages and documents which could take longer time and lots of work for whoever does it, to constantly lift a lid every time they want to scan, as it would have been done with the flatbed scanners. Sheet feed scanners come in two options namely manual sheet feeder and automatic document feeder (ADF). The manual sheet feeder allows you to insert pages one by one without lifting up any lid. This works well but if you need to scan an entire stack of paper, then the automatic document feeder (ADF) would get the job done quicker and more efficiently.
These scanners are known for their ability to scan images of higher optical resolution measured in either pixel per inch (PPI) or dots per inch (dpi) than the flatbed scanners or other document scanners. Photo scanners are the best for scanning top quality images for the best image resolution. These kinds of scanners also come with premium features to enhance scan quality.
5 Best Scanners in 2017
Canon CanonScan 900F Mark II – Best Scanner
The Canon CanonScan 900F Mark II is regarded as the best scanner available on the market. It comes as a 9,600-dpi (dots per inch) flatbed scanner that produces sharp and clear photo scans with excellent color quality. It doesn’t just scan documents and photos well; it can also scan delicate materials such as films and negatives. The Canon CanonScan 900F Mark II has an incredible scan speed and the owners reviews showed that it is easy to setup and use.
- Canon CanonScan LiDE 220 – Cheap Flatbed Scanner
The Canon CanonScan LiDE 220 – Cheap Flatbed Scanner offers a lot of functionality than you would expect at such an affordable price. It can scan documents and photos at 4,800 dpi, which is incredibly high especially for scanning images clearly. It provides basic options for editing the images such as dust removal and its OCR software is great for editing and searching for documents. It is lightweight and very compact. This scanner can’t handle films or negatives.
Epson Perfection V800 Photo – Best Photo Scanner
The Epson Perfection V800 Photo is the best photo scanner on the market and it is admired by top professional photographers who need to scan high-quality photos into their computer. It comes with two high-quality lenses that can switch between 4,800 dpi to 6,400 dpi resolution for slides. It scans photos quickly and has additional features that allow for image correction.
The Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 – Best Document Scanner is a sturdy built and strong scanner with interesting features. It scans documents at an incredible speed and it has a 50-sheet automatic document feeder (ADF) and can scan in two modes (simplex or duplex), as well as scan to smartphones or to computers via Wi-Fi. The downside to the Fujitsu ScanSnap is the absence of a TWAIN driver which means you can’t initiate scans from within the application.
- Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300i – Best Portable Scanner
The Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300i – Best Portable Scanner is for scanning documents on the go. It is light and compact. It offers speed and portability to consumers. The Fujitsu S1300i is a 3-pound scanner that can fit inside a carry-on bag and it can accommodate up to 20 sheets in its feeder. It can run on USB power. It has inbuilt software which is very intuitive and it comes with an extensive OCR ability. This portable scanner can also correct crookedness when scanning documents like receipts.