When you are looking for an easy way to capture photos and documents—there is no better piece of technology than a photo scanner. These scanners can range in size, capabilities and price and after looking through countless photo scanners, we found that the HP Scanjet Enterprise Flow 7500 was the best overall product on the market. We came to this conclusion after comparing volume capacity, speed and versatility—features that have proven to be essential when shopping for any photo scanner.
Photo Scanner Buying Guide
Finding the right photo scanner is all about finding a product that fits your individual needs and what you plan on scanning. There are many scanners that are designed to handle high volume and many that are designed to focus on delivering picture-perfect replicas of detailed images. While image quality should always be a concern with photo scanners, you should also consider speed, if you are planning on using this scanner for documents as well or if you have a high-volume of images to scan.
In addition to the different features, there are also a few different styles of photo scanners as well. While there is no one best type of photo scanner, understanding the differences between these types can help you make the best decision possible regarding your purchase. Here are some of the key considerations to remember when shopping for photo scanners.
Identifying the Different Scanner Styles
As we began our research on photo scanners, we found there were three main styles of photo scanners: flat, sheet-fed and portable scanners. Each has their own benefits and drawbacks. We have detailed the main differences and features in each of these different types of photo scanners.
Flatbed Photo Scanners
Flatbed scanners are the most popular type of scanner out there. In fact, when most people think about scanners, they envision flatbed scanners. As the name suggests, these scanners have a large, flat fixed glass bed for you to lay your photos and documents on. If you want to be able to scan photos, but don’t have a particular scanning type you do consistently—a flatbed scanner is a great option as it allows for versatility. If you do a little bit of everything with your scanner—this is for you.
When looking at flatbed scanners, you will find that some documents are simply scanners alone, while others have built-in printers, copiers or fax machines as well.
Sheet-Fed Photo Scanners
Sheet fed photo scanners are ideal for those who want to scan multiple documents at once. These scanners look similar to a printer, and allow you to feed sheets of paper into the top of the scanner so you can quickly scan multiple photos or documents without having to put each individual sheet into the scanner. This is a great benefit of these scanners, however, many times, since the focus of these scanners is on speed, not on quality, they won’t have as high of a resolution as flatbed scanners.
Portable Photo Scanners
Portable photo scanners are a bit of a niche product, but they are very powerful pieces of technology. These scanners, also sometimes called handheld scanners, typically aren’t the most advanced technologically—as they are battery-operated and designed to be mobile—but they can be relatively fast and have relatively high resolution. Many people like these scanners because they are so easy to transport and store. They are typically fast, budget friendly and easy to use. If you want something that is wireless and small—this is the scanner style for you.
Key Considerations When Shopping for Photo scanners
Once you have decided whether you prefer gas, electric or induction photo scanners, there are more general considerations that you need to make regarding the type and style of photo scanner you decide you want. Here are other features that can help separate one photo scanner from the next.
When you look at a scanner that is meant for scanning photos, it is important to look at the DPI resolution. DPI means dots per inch. In most situations, when it comes to scanning photos or art, you want a scanner that is at least 600 DPI or higher.
Pages Per Minute
Scanning speed should be considered, even if it isn’t your top consideration. Most scanners rate their speed by Pages Per Minute or PPMs. If you are most focused on quality, PPMs may not be super important, but you should still consider them—as you don’t want your scanner to be too slow, even if the quality is great.
Photo scanners can be quite advanced and come with a number of different settings and potential features. However, it is important that they come with an easy-to-read display that lets you establish settings as-needed with your photo scanner. This is particularly important if your scanner is able to hook up to Wi-Fi, the Cloud or email, so you can seamlessly send your photos to the right place with a press of a button. While some photo scanners have basic digital displays or even just buttons, some of the more advanced products available right now have smart screens that make customizing your settings even easier.
Every photo scanner will come with some type of software program included with the device. While some software programs are rather simple and will just help you set up your scanner, others are actually quite robust. Certain software programs allow users to edit their photos right from their computer with ease, so they don’t have to buy additional photo editing software.
Most photo scanners today are Wi-Fi enabled, but not all. Having Wi-Fi capability is such an important feature with any photo scanner as it means you can hook multiple devices up to a single scanner without a bunch of extra cords. This makes it easy to not only scan and send your photos to the Cloud or scan them to different computers or laptops, but also to email your photos or send them to and from your phone all wire-free.
Automatic Correction Features
Today’s photo scanners are more advanced than ever and one of the most unique ways that they bring new technology into the fold is with automatic correction features. If you are using a photo scanner to create detailed replicas of your favorite images, this is a great feature to have. They can fix minor issues with the photo or its placement in seconds, giving you a more clear, detailed version of your image once it has been scanned, so you are only getting the best-quality images.
Ready to start shopping for a photo scanner? Make sure to look at our top reviewed products as a great starting point and to go through our buying guide when comparing different photo scanners. You need to think realistically about what you will be using your photo scanner for, so you can decide if it is best to focus on speed or quality with your scanner. No matter what you decide, if you take these suggestions into consideration you can end up with a quality photo scanner that you can rely on for a long time to come.