The best 10 scanners in comparison

Scanners (1 - 5)
Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 Deluxe BundleBrother ImageCenter ADS-2500WDoxie GoCanon CanoScan 9000F Mark IIFujitsu ScanSnap iX500 Sheet-FedMicrotek ArtixScan F1Microtek ScanMaker i800 PlusCanon CanoScan LiDE 700FMicrotek ArtixScan 3200XLMicrotek ScanMaker i460
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Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 Deluxe Bundle
Brother ImageCenter ADS-2500W
Doxie Go
Canon CanoScan 9000F Mark II
Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 Sheet-Fed
Microtek ArtixScan F1
Microtek ScanMaker i800 Plus
Canon CanoScan LiDE 700F
Microtek ArtixScan 3200XL
Microtek ScanMaker i460
Best price
Best price
General info
Flatbed scannerFlatbed scanners are able to scan anything that can be placed against the glass. You need a scanner with a flatbed for photos or other easily damaged originals, bound material, and 3D objects. Usually flexible lid makes it possible to scan thick documents or even books.
Flatbed scannerFlatbed scanners are able to scan anything that can be placed against the glass. You need a scanner with a flatbed for photos or other easily damaged originals, bound material, and 3D objects. Usually flexible lid makes it possible to scan thick documents or even books.
Integrated displayThe device has an electronic display to present information to the user.
Integrated displayThe device has an electronic display to present information to the user.
Scanner daily duty cycleThe duty cycle is the maximum number of pages you can scan each day and still get the scanner to live out its full life (measured in days or years).
Scanner daily duty cycleThe duty cycle is the maximum number of pages you can scan each day and still get the scanner to live out its full life (measured in days or years).N.A.1500pages per day
N.A.N.A.N.A.N.A.N.A.N.A.N.A.N.A.
Card scannerCan scan your business cards and organize it into a digital file.
Card scannerCan scan your business cards and organize it into a digital file.
CMOS sensorCMOS image sensors are slowly replacing CCD sensors, due to reduced power consumption and better image quality. They can be very compact and cost relatively little to produce.
CMOS sensorCMOS image sensors are slowly replacing CCD sensors, due to reduced power consumption and better image quality. They can be very compact and cost relatively little to produce.
Total score for "General info"
Total score for "General info"
Scan quality
Optical scan resolutionThe highest resolution the scanner can put out without using software to make it bigger. In dots per inch.
Optical scan resolutionThe highest resolution the scanner can put out without using software to make it bigger. In dots per inch.600 x 600dpi
600 x 600dpi
600 x 600dpi
9600 x 9600dpi
600 x 600dpi
4800 x 9600dpi
4800 x 9600dpi
9600 x 9600dpi
3200 x 6400dpi
4800 x 9600dpi
Maximum scan sizeMaximum scan size shows maximum dimensions of the scanned document.
Maximum scan sizeMaximum scan size shows maximum dimensions of the scanned document.216 x 863mm²
215.9 x 863.6mm²
215.9 x 381mm²
215.9 x 297.18mm²
216 x 863mm²
216 x 356mm²
216 x 343mm²
216 x 297mm²
304.8 x 429.26mm²
216 x 297mm²
Bit depth grayscaleBit depth means the number of bits per pixel, so the higher the bit depth, the greater number of grayscales the system can scan.
Bit depth grayscaleBit depth means the number of bits per pixel, so the higher the bit depth, the greater number of grayscales the system can scan.N.A.8bit
N.A.8bit
N.A.16bit
N.A.16bit
N.A.N.A.
Bit depth colorBit depth means the number of bits per pixel, so the higher the bit depth, the greater number of colors the system can scan.
Bit depth colorBit depth means the number of bits per pixel, so the higher the bit depth, the greater number of colors the system can scan.N.A.24bit
N.A.48bit
N.A.48bit
48bit
48bit
48bit
48bit
Infrared image cleaningInfrared cleaning is a technique used by some film scanners and flatbed scanners to reduce or remove the effect of dust and scratches upon the finished scan.
Infrared image cleaningInfrared cleaning is a technique used by some film scanners and flatbed scanners to reduce or remove the effect of dust and scratches upon the finished scan.
Total score for "Scan quality"
Total score for "Scan quality"
Scan speed
Simplex scanning speed colorThe device can deliver one-sided color scans faster.
Simplex scanning speed colorThe device can deliver one-sided color scans faster.25pages per minute
N.A.480pages per minute
N.A.25pages per minute
N.A.N.A.N.A.N.A.10pages per minute
Simplex scanning speed grayscaleThe device can deliver one-sided scans in grayscale faster. Speed is an issue for high-volume scanning, mostly with document scanners and it's measured in pages per minute.
Simplex scanning speed grayscaleThe device can deliver one-sided scans in grayscale faster. Speed is an issue for high-volume scanning, mostly with document scanners and it's measured in pages per minute.25pages per minute
N.A.N.A.N.A.25pages per minute
N.A.N.A.N.A.N.A.10pages per minute
Duplex scanning featureDuplex scanning means scanning both sides of a page at once.
Duplex scanning featureDuplex scanning means scanning both sides of a page at once.
ADF simplex scanning speed grayscaleAutomatic document feeder or ADF is a feature which takes several pages and feeds the paper one page at a time into a scanner or copier, allowing the user to scan, copy, print, or fax, multiple-page documents without having to manually replace each page.
ADF simplex scanning speed grayscaleAutomatic document feeder or ADF is a feature which takes several pages and feeds the paper one page at a time into a scanner or copier, allowing the user to scan, copy, print, or fax, multiple-page documents without having to manually replace each page.25pages per minute
N.A.N.A.8pages per minute
25pages per minute
N.A.N.A.N.A.N.A.N.A.
Skip blank page functionWith the Skip Blank Page function while scanning one-sided and two-sided documents at the same time, you can delete images of blank pages to produce scanned images without redundancy. This function is also effective with colored-paper documents that are blank.
Skip blank page functionWith the Skip Blank Page function while scanning one-sided and two-sided documents at the same time, you can delete images of blank pages to produce scanned images without redundancy. This function is also effective with colored-paper documents that are blank.
Total score for "Scan speed"
Total score for "Scan speed"
Connectivity
Document synchronization with DropboxThe device can save and synchronize documents with Dropbox.
Document synchronization with DropboxThe device can save and synchronize documents with Dropbox.
Document synchronization with Google DriveThe device can save and synchronize documents with Google Drive.
Document synchronization with Google DriveThe device can save and synchronize documents with Google Drive.
Document synchronization directly to networkThe device can save and synchronize documents with internal network.
Document synchronization directly to networkThe device can save and synchronize documents with internal network.
External memory slotThe device has a standard memory slot (such as an SD or micro SD card slot) that enables you to extend the built-in internal storage with affordable memory modules, or easily retrieve data, such as photographs, from the memory card.
External memory slotThe device has a standard memory slot (such as an SD or micro SD card slot) that enables you to extend the built-in internal storage with affordable memory modules, or easily retrieve data, such as photographs, from the memory card.
Document synchronization with EvernoteThe device can save and synchronize documents with Evernote.
Document synchronization with EvernoteThe device can save and synchronize documents with Evernote.
Total score for "Connectivity"
Total score for "Connectivity"
Power
Power consumption in standby modeThe power consumption in standby mode, also called energy-saving mode, measures the amount of power the device consumes when shut down but still plugged in.
Power consumption in standby modeThe power consumption in standby mode, also called energy-saving mode, measures the amount of power the device consumes when shut down but still plugged in.1.6W
7W
N.A.0.9W
1.6W
N.A.N.A.1.5W
N.A.N.A.
Rechargeable batteryThe battery can be recharged and used over again.
Rechargeable batteryThe battery can be recharged and used over again.
Operating power consumptionHow much power the device consumes when it's switched on.
Operating power consumptionHow much power the device consumes when it's switched on.20W
18W
N.A.15W
20W
35W
35W
2.5W
54.9W
18W
Total score for "Power"
Total score for "Power"
Features
35mm film scanningFilm scanners can scan film negatives.
35mm film scanningFilm scanners can scan film negatives.
Scan documents to PDFThe option to scan a document as PDF allows you to create a PDF file directly from a paper document. This feature can save a lot of time, especially if you have many multi-page documents to scan.
Scan documents to PDFThe option to scan a document as PDF allows you to create a PDF file directly from a paper document. This feature can save a lot of time, especially if you have many multi-page documents to scan.
Optical Character Recognition (OCR)Optical Character Recognition lets you convert images with text into text documents (using automated computer algorithms). The text information is attached to PDF, which is then searchable.
Optical Character Recognition (OCR)Optical Character Recognition lets you convert images with text into text documents (using automated computer algorithms). The text information is attached to PDF, which is then searchable.
Auto scan modeAuto Scan Mode detects the type of document being scanned – Photo, Post Card, Business Card, Magazine, Newspaper, Document – and automatically crops and saves files to PDF or JPEG format based on image type.
Auto scan modeAuto Scan Mode detects the type of document being scanned – Photo, Post Card, Business Card, Magazine, Newspaper, Document – and automatically crops and saves files to PDF or JPEG format based on image type.
Multi-feed detectionA special sensor that can detect when two or more pages are stuck together and going through the scanner at the same time.
Multi-feed detectionA special sensor that can detect when two or more pages are stuck together and going through the scanner at the same time.
Total score for "Features"
Total score for "Features"

How to choose the right scanner for your needs

Scanners are a staple in nearly every office environment – whether it be at home or in the corporate world. And, much like any other electronic device, there is a wide range to choose from – offering a variety of features designed to fit nearly every budget.

The choice comes down to the type of documents you want to scan. Will you merely be scanning black and white documents? Or, will you be scanning documents in color and high-resolution photographs? Do you have a large volume of papers and need a sheetfed scanner? Or a compact flatbed scanner? And, which scanner offers the best bang for your buck? Canon vs. Epson? Well, to help you make an informed choice, we've put together some of the essential specifications and features you should take into account when buying a scanner.

Types of scanners

There are different types of scanners, some designed for home use, others for office use, some even meant to be used on the go.

Flatbed scanners

Most of us have used a flatbed scanner before. Perhaps it was in the office copy room, or at your local library. These types of scanners are particularly useful for scanning things that aren't well-suited for a sheetfed scanner. Some of the things that come to mind are pages of books or magazines, photographs, or fragile documents you don't wish to risk damaging by sending them through a sheetfed scanner. On our category page, you can search specifically for flatbed scanners.

Sheetfed scanners

While many of us have used flatbed scanners to scan a single sheet of paper, it's often a welcome relief to discover the sheetfed scanner, or Auto Document Feeder (ADF), when you have multiple pages to scan. Much like how a copier works, you simply slide the stack you wish to scan into the sheet feeder, and your documents are scanned quickly and easily.

There are two types of sheetfed scanners: simplex scanners, suitable for one-sided scanning, and duplex scanners, which can scan both sides of a paper. However, simplex scanners can do the job of a duplex scanner. You just need to insert the stack into the feeder to scan the first side, and, once completed, flip the stack to scan the other side. The scanner will interfile the pages correctly. This manual duplex feature is enough for the occasional duplex scanning job. Still, if you regularly scan two-sided documents and have to deal with high-volume scanning, you should consider a duplex scanner. These advanced sheetfed scanners are equipped with dual-scan elements, enabling them to scan two sides of the document at once, a real timesaver if you find yourself doing a lot of duplex scanning.

Photo scanners

Generally, flatbed scanners do a decent job scanning photographs for everyday use. Once you scan the photographs, you can use photo editing software to correct flaws and achieve the effect you desire.

However, professional photographers and advanced photo enthusiasts may find they desire some of the features that a photo scanner offers. Features include high resolutions, the ability to scan both positive and negative film, color calibration, and dust and scratch removal.

Portable scanners

Portable scanners are the fare of business travelers and individuals who are on the move and must transfer documents, receipts, and other paperwork into their computer or cloud-based storage while remaining mobile. These little scanners have come a long way from the handheld scanners of yore. They've been downsized for lightweight portability and beefed up to provide excellent scanning capabilities.

Specifications and features

When you're in the market for a scanner, it pays to do your homework. As we all know, it can get a little daunting when you're standing in front of a display of shiny, new scanners trying to decide which one will best meet your needs. So, let's look under the hood of a scanner and see what makes it tick.

Scan resolution

First, of course, is resolution. Resolution is generally associated with the quality of an image. There are two different types of scan resolutions - optical resolution and interpolated resolution.

Optical resolution is the actual resolution that the scanner is capable of capturing, and is the number you should find most important. If the scanner doesn't capture it, then that aspect of the image cannot be improved digitally.

Flatbed scanners usually come with a minimum of 300 x 300 dots per inch (DPI). The optical resolution is determined by the number of sensors on the CCD imaging array: the x-direction sampling rate, and the precision of the stepper motor or the y-direction sampling rate. However, the number consumers will see written on the scanner packaging might be something like 9,600 x 1,200 DPI. That number is a result of the interpolated resolution.

Interpolated resolution is, essentially, a digitally enhanced resolution achieved through post-production. Interpolated resolution can improve, to some degree, the image the scanner has captured. It creates extra pixels between what the CCD sensor scanned.

Bit depth

Among the specifications listed for a scanner, you will find something called bit depth. Essentially, it determines the scanner's ability to read and replicate the color spectrum of the information you scan.

Most scanners have a bit depth of at least 24 bits. That's 8 bits for each of the primary three color channels: Red, Green, and Blue (RGB). Each color channel offers 256 shades of its corresponding color, enabling the scanner to use a range of 16.8 million colors.

Scanners are also available in 30 bits. This results in a total color range of 1 billion colors – 1,024 shades within each color channel. Some of the best scanners offer 36 bits, which ends up being 68.7 billion colors – 4,096 shades within the three color channels.

Keep the bit depth in mind when considering a scanner and what its ultimate purpose will be. Scanners with a high bit depth will read and reproduce the best quality of detail, depth, and color.

Dynamic range

Dynamic range, measured in exposure value (EV) differences, is similar to bit depth, except that rather than the RGB color range, it signifies the scanner's ability to read tones from the whitest white (0.0 EV) to the blackest black at 4.0 EV. On low-end scanners, the dynamic range is generally 2.4 EV, which is suitable for applications where crisp color is not necessary. High-end scanners offer a dynamic range between 2.8 and 3.2 EVs and are ideal for demanding color jobs.

Scanning speed

If you're planning on doing a significant amount of scanning in a day, your first step will be to make sure the scanner can keep up with you. Among the wealth of information on the specification sheet, you'll see specs for page per minute (PPM) for black and white scanning, as well as for color scanning, both determined by the resolution you've chosen. When scanning at higher resolutions, the scanning speed decreases, as the scanner needs more time to capture all the fine details.

If that number looks suitable, the next step is to analyze the scanner's daily duty cycle. This is the maximum number of pages that the scanner can process each day. As a rule, the higher the daily duty cycle, the faster the scanner and the more expensive the scanner is. Another aspect to take into account when choosing a scanner is the feeder capacity. You don't want to keep being interrupted by having to jump up and feed the scanner.

Optical Character Recognition (OCR)

In a world that is working hard to become paperless, Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is one of the crucial features to look for in a scanner. OCR allows the scanner to convert images of text into actual editable text. This feature allows you to scan your paper documents and modify them easily in a document editor. It can also save you hours of retyping when you've accidentally deleted the digital copy but still have the hard copy.

By Ann Tiller
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