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Tech Accessories

Best Scanner

A scanner is a device that captures an image from a physical object or document to create a digital copy of it. They come in a wide range of designs and styles, but overall their purpose is to create a digital backup of a physical image or document. Some of the most common models on the market are flatbed designs that have a glass bed that you lay a document onto and then a light is used to scan the item and create a digital copy of it. These have become increasingly powerful, with high-resolution models often used for photographs and illustrations.

There are also specialized scanners used to capture images from older photographic film and slides, as well as smaller versions that can quickly scan a business card. Pen scanners provide small options for scanning individual lines of text, while portable models can be used to scan any document at any location. Consider what types of items you have to scan, where you'll be doing most of your scanning, and take a look at the scanner buyer’s guide below to find the best model for your needs.

Epson Perfection V800 Photo scanner

The great thing about this photo scanner is that it is clearly designed to excel at scanning photographs in just about every possible way. In terms of image detail this model is hard to beat, offering optical resolution up to 4800x6400 dpi, which can be increased to up to 12,800x12,800 dpi through digital technology for incredibly detailed images. This scanner has 48-bit color depth, which is sufficient for even large images with bright, vivid colors, and ensures accuracy in the scanned file. It'seasy to use with one-button operation and a USB 2.0 connection, plus the scanning bed is large enough for even a full letter-size piece of paper and comes with several adapters for 35mm film, slides, and other documents. The Epson software that comes with this scanner really can't compete with a full photo-editing suite, but it's perfect for light editing and color correction to ensure the best possible scanned images.

HP Scanjet G4050 Flatbed Scanner

For pure picture quality, you'll have a hard time finding a consumer-friendly scanner with this level of performance. It includes six-color, 96-bit scanning to ensure your images maintain rich colors and deep blacks even at very high resolutions. While 96-bit color depth is great, it can be overkill and most images scan perfectly with 48-bit depth. Maximum resolution with this model is great, at up to 4800x9600 dpi, but there are models that offer higher digital resolutions. However, it's an easy to use scanner that includes some nice dust and scratch removal features, as well as editing software to restore the images from scanned photographs. You also get a built-in adapter that lets you quickly scan up to sixteen 35mm slides or up to 30 negative frames.

Canon Office Products LiDE220 Document Scanner

There is a lot to like about this photo scanner and it works wonderfully for photographs, but it is not quite as adaptable to multiple tasks as some other models. It has a maximum optical resolution of 4800x4800 dpi, with digital interpolation that can boost that to up to 19,200x19,200 dpi for phenomenal image quality and detail. The 48-bit color depth with this model is excellent and ensures vivid colors in scanned images from a wide range of photographs. This model has a large scanning bed that can handle up to letter-size images, but there are no included adapters for 35mm film, slides, or other specialty photographs. While this may not be a problem if you just plan on scanning standard photos, it's something to keep in mind if you might need to handle a wide range of media types.

Epson Perfection V600 Photo Scanner

This model has terrific image quality with optical resolution of 6400dpi and 48-bit color depth. In that way it matches the best scans you can get from the Epson Perfection V800 but there are some differences which should be noted. There's no "quick scan" mode with this pick and the V800 can scan at 4800 dpi for faster scanning. The optical density with this model is lower than the V800, so details and color gradations likely will not be as precise and fine with this scanner. However, it does have a built-in transparency adapter in the lid which works well for 35mm slides and film strips but not quite as easy to use or effective as the separate adapters included with the V800. This model is often less than half the price of the V800 so this is a great option for casual use but not ideal for professional photo scanning.

Canon Office Products LiDE120 Color Image Scanner

There is a lot to like about this photo scanner which offers a maximum interpolated resolution at 19,200x19,200 dpi, which is amazing and matches or surpasses just about any other photo scanner out there. However, the optical resolution only goes up to 2400x4800 dpi which means most of that resolution is achieved digitally. That does not mean it looks bad, but for high-detailed images the higher optical resolution of some other models can offer better clarity and fidelity in the scanned file. 48-bit color depth means the images scanned with this model are vibrant and look great, plus it has a large scanning area for up to letter-sized photographs. You don't get any kind of slide or film adapter with this model, so keep that in mind if you plan on scanning a wide range of media.

OpticFilm 8200i SE Film Scanner

The price on this model makes it a bit more practical for professional users only, though it's not excessive considering the high level of performance it offers. This scanner delivers the highest resolution of just about any you'll find, offering optimal quality of 7200 dpi although you can also scan at 3600 dpi if you need faster results. It works with 35mm slides, and is easy to use for quick scans or full resolution deep scans, with 48-bit color depth and 16-bit grayscale. This model is compatible with both PCs running Windows and Macs with an Intel CPU. The built-in infrared scanner even helps with finding dust and scratches on your slides, automatically adjusting to remove them without any editing on your part. It also comes with simple scanning software and SilverFast SE Plus 8 which is a more powerful and in-depth program for scanning and image editing.

Wolverine F2D Super 20MP 4-In-1 Film to Digital Converter

There's a lot to like about this model which is a very good option for casual or hobby users that don't need to invest in the most powerful model on the market. This scanner is simple to use with trays for 35mm slides, 110, Super 8 film, and 126KPK slides. One great thing about this model is it can be used as a stand-alone system without connecting to a computer. You simply scan your slides through and a small display screen on the device shows you a preview of the scanned image. 

This scanner has a 20 megapixel scanner offering excellent image quality, with resolution up to 5472x3648. It's fast and stores images on internal memory or an SD or SDHC card with easy transfer to a computer or similar device. It's compatible with PC and Mac and available at a very reasonable price, making it a great option for home use. While it lacks much in the way of extensive scanning or editing software, it's easy to use and can even connect directly to a television to view scans.

Plustek OpticFilm 135 35mm Slide and Negative Film Scanner

While there are a few issues that keep this from being the absolute best of the best option on the market, it is an excellent slide scanner that still works very well. It has a maximum optical resolution of 3600 dpi, which is great for scanning slides and results in very high quality images, though it is less than the resolution of the OpticFilm 820 from Plustek. You still get 48-bit color depth with this model so you'll be enjoying rich tones and gradations which is important for capturing the small details of a 35mm slide. However, this pick lacks an infrared scanner so it won't pick up and correct for dust or scratches as competently as Plustex's more expensive 820 model. With that in mind, this slide scanner is easy to use, more affordable, and still works with a wide range of PCs and Macs.

Veho Smartfix VFS-008 Film Scanner

This scanner works with both Windows-based PCs and Macs, but also can function as a standalone device. It has a small LCD full color screen that can flip up from the top of the scanner to show previews of slides as you scan them, and stores scanned images on an SD or SDHC card with up to 8GB of storage. This is a great option for portable scanning, plus it includes trays for 35mm slides as well as 35mm and 110mm negatives. Although there's a lot to like about this model, there are a few limitations such as the picture quality which isn't quite as good as some other models and it only has a five megapixel lens which is decent but certainly not amazing. However, the lower resolution means this model scans faster than most of our other picks so if you're looking to make very fast scans of 35mm slides without the need for incredible picture quality, then this is a great choice.

Ion Slides 2 PC Film Scanner

This slide scanner is easy to use and the perfect size for transportation without taking up a lot of space making it a great option if you know you'll need to frequently take your slide scanner with you on assignments or travel. The five megapixel scanner in this model is pretty good though it certainly won't match the quality of a more precise lens or scanner. You can use this model with both PCs and Macs without requiring additional drivers but it lacks any standalone functionality. The standout feature of this pick is it includes a 35mm slide rapid feed tray which lets you quickly load one slide after another and scans them in just a few seconds. If you don't need professional image quality and have a lot of slides to scan quickly, then this is a great choice which offers very good performance.

Vupoint Solutions Magic Wand Portable Scanner

If you're not sure whether to go with a wand device or a stationary scanner, then this is a great option which offers the best of both worlds in a single device. A battery-powered wand lets you quickly scan just about any document in a range from 300 dpi to 1050 dpi. The wand also includes a small LCD display that gives you a preview of your scanned work as you work. There’s also an auto-feed dock for scanning multiple loose pages without using the wand. Scanning speeds vary with about five pages per minute at high resolutions with color documents, all the way up to about 30 pages per minute for low resolution, monotone media. You can also store scanned images on a microSD or microSDHC card up to 32GB in size and the entire device weighs less than a pound so it’s no problem to travel with.

Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300i Sheet-Fed Mobile Document Scanner

When it comes portable scanners, this is an excellent option as it measures less than 12 inches long and weighs only three pounds, so you can carry it around in a computer bag or briefcase. This pick scans up to 24 images per minute at the lowest resolution and you can scan documents in simplex or duplex mode so it’s perfect for double-sided pages. It has a maximum optical resolution of 600 dpi, but digital resolution can go up to 1200 dpi if necessary. The scanner also has a document feeder which folds out, for loading up to 10 sheets of paper at a time for faster bulk scanning. Keep in mind, this pick lacks standalone capability as it can only be powered via a USB cable or a wall outlet.

Epson WorkForce DS-40 Portable Wireless Document Scanner

Most portable scanners are pretty lightweight and easy to take anywhere, but still require a physical connection. However this one from Epson can connect through a USB 2.0 port as well as with Wireless-N functionality so you can use it with a wide range of devices and wireless networks without a physical connection. It even supports iOS and Android, so you’re not limited to using this scanner with a narrow range of devices.

The scanners optical resolution goes up to 1200 dpi but only outputs at up to 600 dpi. It can scan a page at low resolution in about eight seconds up to about 30 seconds when scanning a page at higher resolutions. This model weighs just over one pound and is less than 12 inches in length, plus it runs on batteries so requires no physical wires at all when used with a wireless network.

Brother DS-920DW Wireless Duplex Mobile Color Page Scanner

There is a lot to like about this portable scanner, beginning with its Wireless-N functionality that lets you use this pick with a wireless network and any associated devices. It has a maximum optical resolution of 600 dpi with digital resolution up to 1200 dpi which assures you get great picture quality. Since there’s no paper feed/tray you’ll have to load each sheet individually but it does support duplex scanning for handling double-sided pages. Scan speeds with this model are pretty fast at about eight pages per minute in simplex scanning or up to five pages per minute when scanning in duplex. This scanner also includes a media slot and comes with a 4GB SD card, making it a great option for scanning just about anywhere. One thing to consider with this model is it’s not exactly compact, weighing almost three pounds and measuring around 14 inches long.

Fujitsu Image Scanner ScanSnap SV600

While this portable scanner might not be right for everyone, it’s a superb choice for digitizing books and other large documents. This scanner sits upright and scans documents from overhead so you can position it over a large open book for example. It has a maximum resolution of 600 dpi which is pretty good, and can scan up to 20 pages per minute. This one is definitely designed for use with books, as it includes automatic detection of when pages turn and can scan automatically as you turn the pages in a book. While it works just fine for loose documents, there are some better options if those are the only types of scans you plan on doing. One thing to keep in mind is although this scanner qualifies as a portable model, it’s quite large, weighing more than six pounds and measures about 15 inches long.

Ectaco C-Pen 3.5 BT Bluetooth Handheld Scanner

The Bluetooth C-Pen 3.5 is a great scanner that should work perfectly for just about everyone, supporting more than 184 languages including English, Spanish, German, and Russian. There's also additional support for numerous languages with Latin, Cyrillic, Scottish Gaelic, and Eskimo but keep in mind that Android supports fewer languages than Windows or Mac. Another nice feature is a document called the C-Pad which you can print out and use for quick addition of special characters and commands.

One of the best features of this pen scanner is the Bluetooth connectivity for wireless use which makes it ideal for on-the-go use with a laptop or mobile device. Designed for both left and right-handed users, this pick offers scanning speeds up to 15 cm/s and works on characters between 5-22 points. While this pen scanner only comes with software for Windows, you can download official Mac and Android software from the Ectaco website for free.

PenPower WorldPenScan X

This model scans at up to 10 cm/s and works on characters between 6-22 points in size. It can recognize words in nearly 200 languages in total including languages with English characters and even those using Latin and Greek letters. In addition to having access to an online dictionary, this scanner has a spell-checking tool which makes it great for double-checking work while you’re scanning a document. This pen scanner also has Bluetooth support for wireless connectivity and it's compatible with Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android. Lastly, the lightweight design and wireless functionality make this pen scanner great option for long-term use.

IRIS IRISPen Express 7 Pen Scanner

Although this might not be the overall best pen scanner on the market, it's a great option if you're looking for a pen scanner on a budget. It can recognize over 40 languages including English, French, German, and Arabic, as well as including both text and numbers. While this one only supports Windows operating systems, it has full integration with a wide range of applications such as Word and Excel. It's easy to use and is powered through the USB connection that transfers data from the scanner to your computer. The lightweight design means you can use it comfortably for long periods of time, and the scanner can recognize barcodes and even scan small images. Although you don't get a lot of bells and whistles with this one (such as an online dictionary or Bluetooth connectivity) it's an affordable option that works very well with PCs running Windows.

Planon ScanStik with VoiceNotes - SK600

This model offers functionality more like a wand scanner but with the small size and convenience of a pen model. You hold it horizontally along a page, (rather than like a pen) to scan a single line of text or full page with a single sweep. It includes an OLED display that shows you resolution, battery life, and available memory. Additionally, you can connect this pen scanner to a computer or other device through a USB port or Bluetooth connection.
This pen scanner also allows you to insert a microSD card (sold separately) for direct storage of scanned data. While this pick lacks features like a built-in dictionary, it does include a microphone so you can make voice notes as you scan a line or document. Like our other picks, this one is lightweight so it can be used comfortably for long periods.

PenPower WorldPenScan SWPSBTK1EN Wireless Portable Pen Scanner and Translator

Compatible with both PC and Mac systems, this is pen scanner is an ideal option if you need to translate text as you're scanning it. Scan speeds with this model are quite good at 15 cm/s which matches or exceeds the other best pen scanners on the market. This model can read characters between 5-22 points in size which is perfect for a wide range of scanning tasks as well as translation support for almost 200 languages. Keep in mind this pen scanner doesn't offer wireless functionality and only works through a USB connection.

Canon Office Products LiDE220 Document Scanner

There is a lot to like about this photo scanner and it works wonderfully for photographs, but it is not quite as adaptable to multiple tasks as some other models. It has a maximum optical resolution of 4800x4800 dpi, with digital interpolation that can boost that to up to 19,200x19,200 dpi for phenomenal image quality and detail. The 48-bit color depth with this model is excellent and ensures vivid colors in scanned images from a wide range of photographs. This model has a large scanning bed that can handle up to letter-size images, but there are no included adapters for 35mm film, slides, or other specialty photographs. While this may not be a problem if you just plan on scanning standard photos, it's something to keep in mind if you might need to handle a wide range of media types.

HP ScanJet G3110 Photo Scanner

This is an excellent scanner offering a maximum resolution on scans of up to 4800 x 9600 dpi with 48-bit color depth which is as good as pricier professional models. This model works well for 35mm negatives and slides, but it truly shines when used as a photograph scanner. It connects to a PC or Mac via a USB 2.0 port for great scanning and image uploading speeds while four quick-function buttons let you scan your content directly into an editable PDF or an email. One thing to note, this model is a bit heavy and cumbersome so it’s not ideal if you need a scanner designed to be more portable. You can usually find this pick retailing for about $100, but sales and other discounts at the right time can make it an even better deal.

Canon Office Products LiDE120 Color Image Scanner

There is a lot to like about this photo scanner which offers a maximum interpolated resolution at 19,200x19,200 dpi, which is amazing and matches or surpasses just about any other photo scanner out there. However, the optical resolution only goes up to 2400x4800 dpi which means most of that resolution is achieved digitally. That does not mean it looks bad, but for high-detailed images the higher optical resolution of some other models can offer better clarity and fidelity in the scanned file. 48-bit color depth means the images scanned with this model are vibrant and look great, plus it has a large scanning area for up to letter-sized photographs. You don't get any kind of slide or film adapter with this model, so keep that in mind if you plan on scanning a wide range of media.

Epson WorkForce DS-40 Portable Wireless Document Scanner

Most portable scanners are pretty lightweight and easy to take anywhere, but still require a physical connection. However this one from Epson can connect through a USB 2.0 port as well as with Wireless-N functionality so you can use it with a wide range of devices and wireless networks without a physical connection. It even supports iOS and Android, so you’re not limited to using this scanner with a narrow range of devices.

The scanners optical resolution goes up to 1200 dpi but only outputs at up to 600 dpi. It can scan a page at low resolution in about eight seconds up to about 30 seconds when scanning a page at higher resolutions. This model weighs just over one pound and is less than 12 inches in length, plus it runs on batteries so requires no physical wires at all when used with a wireless network.

Mustek A3 1200S High Speed A3 Large Format 11.7x16.5" Color Scanner

While there's a lot to like about this budget scanner, it's just not an ideal pick for most people. Its maximum resolution for scans is 1200 x 1200 dpi, which is pretty good but certainly not amazing. If you plan on scanning some low resolution photographs and images, or lots of documents with text, then this should be more than sufficient. Keep in mind, however, that you can definitely get better resolutions from other budget scanners like the Canon CanoScan LiDE220. The lower resolution lets this model scan quite quickly at under 10 seconds per scan, and the durable design means you’ll certainly get some long-term use out of it. A USB 2.0 connection allows for quick connections to your laptop or other device as well as direct publishing of your scanned content to PDF documents and emails.

Penpower WorldCard Pro Card Scanner - LL1498

There's a lot to like about this business card scanner which comes bundled with some incredible software which allows you to quickly input and automatically sort scanned images. The scanning software can also recognize 25 different languages and you can easily find cards through the search and simple organization functions. Weighing under half a pound and just more than four inches long, you can easily take it with you to meetings, on business trips, or just keep it on hand at your desk. Compatible with both PCs and Macs, it quickly connects to your computer vis a USB port.

Ambir Technology Duplex ID Card Scanner DS687-AS

This scanner offers you 600 dpi image resolutions and the design lets you scan cards very quickly at only three seconds per side at low resolution. The software that comes bundled with this pick is pretty good, but it's not specifically designed for organizing and searching business cards. This scanner is about eight inches long, so that can make it difficult to carry around with you in a laptop bag. The other major weakness with this scanner is it’s only compatible with Windows operating systems so MAC users will have to look elsewhere.

DYMO CardScan v9 Executive Business Card Scanner

This scanner works with both Macs and PCs and can synchronize with software such as Lotus Notes, Outlook, and Mac Address Book, making it easy to scan cards and associate the images with other information. You can use this model to scan in both color and black and white; a color scan averages three seconds while monotone is less than two. This scanner is capable of scanning cards in seven different languages and quickly connects to your computer via a USB cable. While not the most portable option on the market, this is still a great business card scanner that can easily be taken with you on a trip or to a meeting. It weighs less than a pound and is only 6.5 inches long, which makes it easy to pack up in a bag or brief case.

IRISCard Anywhere 5 Card Scanner

This business card scanner is probably the best option for someone on a budget. You can scan and interface with this device in 19 different languages and it recognizes business card formats from over 200 countries. Data can be saved to an internal SD card which can then easily be transferred to a computer or compatible mobile device. Compatible with both Macs and PC computers, it’s capable of working with a wide range of hardware setups. This device weighs a little over a pound and measures just over 12 inches long, which makes it less than ideal to take to meetings or on business trips.

DYMO CardScan Personal Card Scanner - 1760685

If you like the DYMO CardScan Executive business card scanner but don’t need all of its features, this scanner is a great alternative. It’s capable of scanning a card in just five seconds but keep in mind it only works in monotone, so if you need color scanning then this is not a good choice. While the Executive model has more features, this pick is smaller at five inches long and weighs less than half a pound thereby making a better choice for travel. Compatible with both PCs and Macs, this pick functions best with Windows software while the DYMO Executive version of this scanner has better support with the Mac operating system.

Hasselblad Flextight X5 Film Scanner

Hasselblad Flextight X5 Film Scanner

This is a simply an amazing scanner which will give you the absolute best image possible from a film source. It works nicely with both 35mm and 60mm film and it has a maximum optical resolution of 8000 dpi with 35mm film and up to 3200 dpi with 60mm film. It can run batch scanning on multiple images and uses a Firewire interface to connect to either your PC or Mac. Keep in mind, the price definitely makes this an option inappropriate for the home or casual hobby use. However, if your career demands the best scanner on the market, then you know where to look first.

Wolverine F2D Super 20MP 4-In-1 Film to Digital Converter

There's a lot to like about this model which is a very good option for casual or hobby users that don't need to invest in the most powerful model on the market. This scanner is simple to use with trays for 35mm slides, 110, Super 8 film, and 126KPK slides. One great thing about this model is it can be used as a stand-alone system without connecting to a computer. You simply scan your slides through and a small display screen on the device shows you a preview of the scanned image. 

This scanner has a 20 megapixel scanner offering excellent image quality, with resolution up to 5472x3648. It's fast and stores images on internal memory or an SD or SDHC card with easy transfer to a computer or similar device. It's compatible with PC and Mac and available at a very reasonable price, making it a great option for home use. While it lacks much in the way of extensive scanning or editing software, it's easy to use and can even connect directly to a television to view scans.

ION Film 2 SD Plus Hi-Res 35mm Slide and Negative Scanner

While this probably isn’t a scanner most photography professionals will use, it's a great option for home transfers and similar applications. It works quite well, producing beautiful results which definitely surpass what a standard flatbed scanner could offer. This film scanner is ideal for use with 35mm film, and it has holders to easily scan smaller pieces of film negatives, slides, and even negatives on a roll. Image quality with this scanner is very good (thanks to a 14 megapixel lens) but it can’t match the level of detail and clarity offered by more professional models. However, this scanner is also significantly less expensive which makes this a great option for amateur use.

PacificImage PrimeFilm 120 Pro Film Scanner

This is a great film scanner offering excellent image quality thanks to a maximum optical resolution of 3200 dpi. That kind of quality is much better than many other scanners and easily surpasses what you’re likely to get with a film adapter on a flatbed scanner. This pick supports 35mm slides and film, as well as medium-formats such as 120/200mm and larger sizes. One especially nice feature is the white and infrared LEDs which contribute to the high-quality scans while providing automatic dust and scratch removal. A high-end model can surpass what this scanner delivers, but the price makes this an excellent overall value if you plan on scanning film for professional projects and hobby pursuits alike.

Plustek OpticFilm 120 Film & Slide Scanner

Here’s a great choice for some professional film scanning or high-end hobby work where you want some of the best results possible. It has a maximum optical input resolution of 10,600 dpi, which is fantastic, but the output resolution is only 5300 dpi. While that is still excellent, and far better than what you will get using a flatbed scanner with an adapter or film holder, just keep the difference between input and output in mind when looking at this model.

This scanner offers 48-bit color depth and has an infrared scanner that helps identify dust and scratches on film while scanning, which makes it easier to get a clearly scanned image every time. This is a great choice for 35mm film and slides, as well as 120/200mm film and larger images. It can’t quite match the level of performance offered by something like the Hasselblad Flextight X5, but it’s also far less expensive.

Epson Perfection V600 Photo Scanner

This model has terrific image quality with optical resolution of 6400dpi and 48-bit color depth. In that way it matches the best scans you can get from the Epson Perfection V800 but there are some differences which should be noted. There's no "quick scan" mode with this pick and the V800 can scan at 4800 dpi for faster scanning. The optical density with this model is lower than the V800, so details and color gradations likely will not be as precise and fine with this scanner. However, it does have a built-in transparency adapter in the lid which works well for 35mm slides and film strips but not quite as easy to use or effective as the separate adapters included with the V800. This model is often less than half the price of the V800 so this is a great option for casual use but not ideal for professional photo scanning.

Canon Office Products LiDE220 Document Scanner

There is a lot to like about this photo scanner and it works wonderfully for photographs, but it is not quite as adaptable to multiple tasks as some other models. It has a maximum optical resolution of 4800x4800 dpi, with digital interpolation that can boost that to up to 19,200x19,200 dpi for phenomenal image quality and detail. The 48-bit color depth with this model is excellent and ensures vivid colors in scanned images from a wide range of photographs. This model has a large scanning bed that can handle up to letter-size images, but there are no included adapters for 35mm film, slides, or other specialty photographs. While this may not be a problem if you just plan on scanning standard photos, it's something to keep in mind if you might need to handle a wide range of media types.

HP ScanJet G3110 Photo Scanner

This is an excellent scanner offering a maximum resolution on scans of up to 4800 x 9600 dpi with 48-bit color depth which is as good as pricier professional models. This model works well for 35mm negatives and slides, but it truly shines when used as a photograph scanner. It connects to a PC or Mac via a USB 2.0 port for great scanning and image uploading speeds while four quick-function buttons let you scan your content directly into an editable PDF or an email. One thing to note, this model is a bit heavy and cumbersome so it’s not ideal if you need a scanner designed to be more portable. You can usually find this pick retailing for about $100, but sales and other discounts at the right time can make it an even better deal.

Epson Perfection V370 Color Photo, Image, Film, Negative, & Document Scanner

This scanner offers 4800 x 9600 dpi resolution with digital resolution which can leap up to 12,800 dpi for even better image quality as well as 48-bit color depth. Like our other picks, this scanners offers a generous 8.5 x 11.7 inch scanning area so it can accommodate images and documents up to letter size. If you need to scan a wider range of media, this scanner also provides an adapter for scanning 35mm film and slides; however, for this type of scanning a dedicated film or slide scanner is recommended. The software bundled with this scanner makes it easy edit your scans (such as dust and scratch removal) as well as letting you scan directly to cloud storage whether you have a PC or Mac computer.

Canon Office Products LiDE120 Color Image Scanner

There is a lot to like about this photo scanner which offers a maximum interpolated resolution at 19,200x19,200 dpi, which is amazing and matches or surpasses just about any other photo scanner out there. However, the optical resolution only goes up to 2400x4800 dpi which means most of that resolution is achieved digitally. That does not mean it looks bad, but for high-detailed images the higher optical resolution of some other models can offer better clarity and fidelity in the scanned file. 48-bit color depth means the images scanned with this model are vibrant and look great, plus it has a large scanning area for up to letter-sized photographs. You don't get any kind of slide or film adapter with this model, so keep that in mind if you plan on scanning a wide range of media.

Buyer's Guide

 

Scanner Buyer’s Guide

If you just need a simple, every day document scanner, then picking the right one is pretty easy. But if you want to have more options and need to scan photographs or illustrations, then making the right choice can be more complicated. Consider both document and flatbed scanners, along with other specialty types, to ensure you have a model which works for all of your needs. When it comes to image quality, you want to look at color depth, the element or image sensor, and optical resolution to ensure you get as good a scan as possible. You also want to keep in mind the sizes of your documents and any extra features you want before making a final choice.

Document vs Flatbed

While there are quite a few different types of scanners out there, the two most common ones are document and flatbed scanners.

Document Scanners
Document scanners have a feed or tray where you place a sheet of paper which is then pulled into the machine to scan each page. Some of these models have to be loaded manually with one piece of paper at a time, while others can handle multiple pages at a time. Document scanners are usually the best choice if you just plan on scanning in sheets with text and similar pages;

Flatbed Scanners
A flatbed scanner has a flat piece of glass onto which you place a sheet of paper or object to scan it. Flatbed scanners often provide better quality and are preferable for working with mediums such as photographs and illustrations.

Special Types of Scanners

There are also a number of specialty scanners to consider if you have some different or unusual objects to scan. Some devices are marketed as dedicated photo scanners, usually with a small bed for traditional photographs. If you're looking for a scanner that has print, copier and fax capabilities as well, then check out the best all-in-one printers for some great options.

Slide Scanner
One specialized type of scanner that is very useful is a slide scanner, which scans images from photographic slides. Most flatbed scanners cannot capture these kinds of images very well, so a special model is a wise investment if you have many slides you want to scan.

Pen Scanner
Pen scanners are great for portability and individual lines of text. This is especially helpful if you need to scan from a large, bound book which can’t work with a document scanner and would be unwieldy with a flatbed model.

Color Depth

Color depth, also called bit depth, refers to the amount of data, in bits, used for each pixel in a scanned image. More bits means more data used, which means you get better image quality so choose a model with as much color depth as possible.

If you’re just looking to scan text documents and similar items, then a color depth of 24bit should be sufficient. For photographs, you want to choose a scanner with at least 48bit color depth for great image quality. There are some scanners available with 96bit color depth, but that is pretty unnecessary and 48bit should be sufficient.

Element Type/Image Sensor

The term “element” is typically used when looking at document scanners, while flatbed scanners often use the term “image sensor,” but in both cases it refers to the technology used to pick up light and create the scanned image.

Charged Coupled Device (CCD)
 A CCD image sensor offers the best picture quality and detail, so choose a flatbed scanner with CCD if you want the best scanned image possible.

Contact Image Sensor (CIS)
CIS is not quite as good as CCD, but still provides good quality and is lightweight. Choose CIS for a document scanner or if you don’y need the level of performance offered by CCD.

Complementary Metal-Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS)
CMOS is the lowest in terms of quality, but also more affordable. This type is a decent choice purely for document scanning where you don’t need high resolution or image quality.

Maximum Optical Resolution

The resolution of an image describes the width and height of it in terms of pixels. More pixels mean better image quality, so choose the highest resolution available for what you need. Optical resolution refers to the scanning resolution, so the higher the value the better the captured resolution.

For document scanners, look for about 600x600 or 600dpi. This isn’t exceptional but is more than sufficient for text and low-quality images. If you want a flatbed scanner for photographs or illustrations, then you want much higher resolution. Choose a flatbed model with resolution of at least 2400x2400 or 2400dpi, though 4800x4800 or 4800dpi is a much better choice. If you really need incredibly high resolution for professional photography or illustration, you can even go up to 6400x6400 or 6400dpi.

Maximum Document Size

The maximum document size compatible with a scanner depends a lot on how the device is designed. Document scanners have a slot that can only fit paper of certain sizes, while flatbed scanners have a piece of glass that limits the size of the object or page that it can scan. The maximum size you need depends a lot on what you will be scanning, but there are a few things to keep in mind.

Most document scanners can handle pages 8.5 inches wide, with varying lengths, and legal pages up to 8.5x14 inches are usually compatible, but if you need to scan 11x17 inch ledger pages, then look for a model with a wider paper feed. Flatbed scanners are likely to be large enough to handle up to 8.5x14 inches pages, but you will probably need to pay more if you need a large model that can handle ledger pages due to it requiring more glass and a wider bed.

Additional USB Ports

Just about every scanner on the market connects to your computer through a USB port, though there are some wireless models available. If your available USB ports are getting a bit limited, then consider a scanner that has USB input ports as well. This lets you connect other devices to your scanner, which then connect through it to your computer. You can pretty easily find document scanners with at least one available USB port, but they are less common in flatbed models.

Manufacturer and Warranty

Since scanners are electronic devices with a lot of moving parts and sensitive components, it is important to choose a model made by a reliable manufacturer that covers the device with a good warranty. Companies like Epson, Canon, HP, and Fujitsu all make excellent scanners that work well and provide you with very good scanned images. You can also look at Brother, Kodak, and Xerox for good machines that are reliable. A one-year warranty is pretty standard for scanners, but you may be able to find some models, especially professional ones, with longer protection.

 

Greg Wiesen
With an AA in Computer Animation, I have spent years building computers and playing video games. I learned early on that the best way to figure out a new software program was to just start pushing buttons and see what happens (saving often, of course), and that is still my philosophy. From hard drives and motherboards to graphics cards and "holographic" keyboards, I enjoy checking out and playing with all the tech I can get my hands on. I have written hundreds of informative computer and technology articles in the past, and I believe that anyone can understand and use a computer. I'll worry about research and trying out different hardware, you just enjoy the results.
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