Resolution: Do you need a special high resolution scanner, or just basic resolution for document processing and at home casual usage. Is this for photography or just documents? If for artwork or photography, study carefully the resolution to get something high end.
Speed: When doing large document scans, consider the speed. 1 page per minute will drive you crazy if doing large batches of 100 page scans. Consider a high speed scanner if you plan to do lots of volume.
Document feeder: Is a flat-bed suited to your usage for special documents, old picture, or hard cover books? Of you plan to push high speed batches of pages that are clean and flat through the system. Pick the feeder that matches your intended usage.
Connectivity: WIFI or Wired are the two main choices. Some people prefer the simple setup and reliability of wired, but if the location requires WIFI and physical wiring is not possible go for WIFI. WIFI Is also better if the scanner is shared by multiple computers.
Duplex scanning: Are the documents you plan to scan 2-sided or the content is on a single side? If you need duplex scanning, ensure the model you pick has that option.
Size and portability: Do you want a powerhouse machine that could be large and sits in a fixed location in your office? Or you want a small nimble device you can pack in your briefcase to take for mobile document signing appointments? Often the big machines are better, but if you need mobility look for a small device you can carry around.
Software: Most scanners come with scanners. Brands like epson, cannon, brother and HP have well tested and frequently used software that comes with their device. Brands that are less well known may have a more varied success rate with their in-built software. The operating system you have, like Windows or Linux or Mac may have their own software you can use as well.
Below are best scanners to pick for purchase based on your need:
- Best high resolution scanner
- Best duplex capable scanner
- Best portable scanner
- Best multi-function scanner
- Best High throughput document scanner
- Best high-end scanner with all the bells and whistles
- Best low price flat bed scanner
For photos, artwork or original document storage you want high resolution to maintain the quality of the original image with minimal loss. The Epson Perfection V39 Color Photo & Document Scanner is a product to consider in this category. It is a flatbed scanner that provides high quality scans with 4800 dots per inch; relatively decent speed of scanning, Epson management software to operate the scanner, direct upload to google storage, simple buttons on the front, guiding lines for different size paper, and a price that won’t break the bank for your high quality image and document scanning at less than $110 USD. Read about this scanner here
With the reliable and low cost Brother brand, the $200 ADS 1200 has duplex capability when you need to scan both sides of pages. It is also a portable scanner which is small in size and only 3.3 pounds in weight, so you can take it in a bag with you on the go. Speed wise the ADS 1200 can do 25 pages per minute of scanning. Brother printers come with Brother software, but you can also ussually use the software in the OS for scanning from Windows, Linux or Mac OS. Its not wifi enabled, but does have a handy USB port to capture your scans or you can connect it to the computer via a wire with USB. It also has a neat little credit card size aperture for scanning things that size. Read about this scanner here
Some people need to take their scanner where they go. For example a mobile notary may need to bring the scanner with them to a job. So you want something light, compact and rugged to take with you on a job. THe Epson WorkForce ES-50 less than a pound and less than 2 inches up and down with a nearly 11 inch width that will pop into your bag. Its about $100 product from the trusted brand Epson that has its own software for management that you can use. No batteries or external power are required since it gets its charge from the USB cable (Not wifi enabled). It can do a single page scan in about 6 seconds. Its only a single sheet feeder, but this is a good product to choose for the ultimate in mobility. Read about this scanner here
Those looking to a lot of different types of work with their scanner, and looking for a midrange and midprice product can select the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX1300. You can select between manual and automatic feeder with its space saving U-Turn feed design. Color scanning is no problem, or black and white. Wired or wireless input to the PC is supported. A simple one scan button on the front in a compact design about 4 inch by 4 inch by 12 inch, its even portable. The ScanSnap can scan receipts, ID Cards, or documents and it comes with built-in image processing software to touch up or rate images. For midrage product for home use in many different ways try the $270 Fujitsu multi-function scanner: Fujitsu ScanSnap iX1300. Read about this scanner here
For the folks that keep the scanner on their desk at home or office, not portable, and looking to get multi-page scans done quickly and efficiently, the Brother ADS-3300 can scan at a rate of 40 pages per minute. This way you can be doing large document scans, like 100 page tax returns of financial documents in just a few minutes. The paper feeder can handle a max of 60 pages but you can continue to add more pages while its working with continuous scan mode. Input can be single or double sided paper. Connectivity can be wired or wirelss ethernet or a USB stick. This device also features a 2.8 inch color touchscreen display for control. Go for this option if you have a lot of multi-page documents to scan on a regular basis and don’t want to waste time. Your increased business productivity can make up for the price tag which is around $370, since this is a high end product. Read about this scanner here
In the high-end category the Raven Pro is a lot of fun. First of all get ready to spend over $600 for your scanner on this model, but with the enjoyment you get when buying something really cool. The 8 inch touch screen display makes you feel like you are at a professional copy shop. From a speed point of this advanced machine can scan at 60 pages per minute which feels like instanteous success. Support for major cloud services including Dropbox, Google, Box, Evernote, OneDrive, QuickBooks, or even FTP and email. The features are beyond imagination because the people who made this product went out of the way to build something cool. The document feeder has support for 100 pages and built-in anti-jam technology. This is not just a scanner its a fun adventure, so pick this product if you have the enthusiasm for it. Read about this scanner here
A flat bed scanner is not good for long documents but its well suited to single image scans of photos, receipts, business cards or even parts of a book, a book cover or other media you want to place flat on the bed and not feed through document feeder. The LanoScan Lide 300 is a low priced and easy to use entry level scanner that works well with software that comes with your PC or the Canon Scan software. Even though its entry level the resulting scans are still 2400 DPI in resolution. The price is below $70 and it will do the job for simple scans. Read about this scanner here
How to Select The Best Scanner
Really you do want to think why you are buying a scanner. Is it for business and this will be a business expense, getting a scanner that is high end with either througput for documents or image resolution for photos to meet the business case is worth the money. Is it for fun and home use try a multi-function or general purpose device until your needs advance. We hope the pointers above get you started looking at some of the most suitable products in the market.