5 Best Scanner for your Home (Document, High Speed, Professional, Portable and Overall Best Scanners)
Let's face it: You have been hanging on to your old scanner for years, and not only is it becoming unreliable, but it seems to take hours to scan one page. You know it is time to upgrade, but with so many options, how do you find the best scanner for your money?
The truth is, there are a lot of great scanner options out there—it just depends on your personal needs.
Do you need something that works quickly?
Or maybe you need something that will give you a perfectly crisp picture?
Or are you looking for a budget-friendly option because you don't necessarily need the highest quality scans?
Let's discuss some of what you want to look for when trying to find the best scanners available. Then I will give you my picks for the best five scanners of 2017.
Don't have time to read the entire review? Here's a quick overview:
Best for Professionals
Best for Business
What to Look for When Buying a Scanner
To create digital images to suit your needs, it is important to look for a scanning system that can safely handle your photographs and create digital images with your specifications. Gauge the capabilities of the scanner to make sure that it is able to meet your digitization specifications and create a quality end product.
But wait—you have to make sure you know what you will be using the scanner for in order to pick the best option for you. Think about what you will be using this scanner for. Is it just to keep your personal photos organized or are you using it for business as well? I know when I first bought a scanner I thought that I would just be using it for pictures, but have now found it to come in handy for a lot of other things. Consider all of your scanning needs before committing to one type of scanner.
Some key criteria to look for in these best scanners include:
- The kind of scanner that is appropriate for your materials
- The technical capabilities of the system
- Your budget
Here is a great video that explains the different types of scanners available on the market.
Why the Type of Scanner Matters
Basically, all scanners do the same thing. They use glass, mirrors, a light source, a charged-couples device chip, and a combination of belts, rollers, and motors to move the document around and capture the image in its entirety. However, while they all do the same thing, the method, quality, and effort it takes to get a final product varies tremendously between models.
Types of Scanners
There are five common types of scanners, three of which are ideal for safely handling historical photographs. These are a flatbed scanner, a film scanner, and a digital camera. So, first things first. You need to evaluate what kind of scanner is best suited for your materials.
When thinking about scanners, people often envision the flatbed scanner, which is a common home and office machine. This scanner gets its name from its flat fixed glass bed where you lay your documents. Here is a quick video on how a flatbed scanner operates.
There is no doubt that flatbed scanners are the best choice for people who need a versatile scanner that can scan photos just as easily as documents. I have found this type of scanner to be great when I need to scan something that has some sort of texture on it, or a business card stapled to an invoice.
Flatbed scanners have a very high resolution because they are full-sized scanners that don't need to cut corners when the are made. You can see the resolution on a scanner as it is expressed in DPI (dots per inch). While anything over 200 DPI is typically fine, these scanners offer up to 600 DPI. However, this isn't something to worry about too much, because even inexpensive scanners have more than enough resolution to scan your documents with enough quality to be able to see the image just fine.
Needless to say, a flatbed scanner is a great option if you need to scan various types of documents, but it isn't an efficient tool if you are scanning in bulk. If you want to scan several pages at once, a sheet-fed scanner is a better option. This document scanner will automatically scan multiple sheets at once without you having to manually change the sheet after each scan.
When you are looking for a sheet-fed scanner, high resolution isn't as big of a priority as the scanner's ease of use, reliability, and speed. It's best to find a scanner that works quickly, is durable, and is easy to load. Here is an example of how quickly a sheet-fed scanner can work.
So what happens if you have mobile scanning needs? Don’t worry—there’s a solution. While portable scanners aren't the best at scanning, they are able to get the job done.
While they may not have the highest resolution, a big sheet-feeder, or many other desired amenities, they do offer an adequate resolution with a simple operation. When I was a student, this was the ideal scanner to have because I would be doing work anywhere between the campus library, my home, and the local coffee shop.
Let's face it: The idea of having a machine that scans, prints, and faxes all in one sounds like an ideal purchase. However, while hybrid scanners do many things, they don't do them very well. The truth is, most of these machines come with a lot of headaches because they are always in need of some kind of repair.
Furthermore, many of these units have extremely annoying quirks, like the scanning function won’t work if the printer is out of ink/toner, or it’s difficult to scan things to send to another printer because the unit was designed with a copy mode intended to scan and print only to its own printer. Overall, it’s almost never worth the headache, and you’re better off purchasing a stand-alone scanner. Because these scanners are usually junk, we won't spend time discussing them.
What is the Best Scanner for 2017?
Best Document Scanner App
The CamScanner is a portable scanner that allows you to use your phone to scan documents on the go. I personally enjoy using this scanner because it is always there when I need it. For example, if I am not in the office over the weekend, but am trying to get some work done, I can use this scanner from home.
Overall, this is the best scanner for people who want all of their documents backed up on the Internet. It can also be great (and free) for those who don't often use a scanner. Students who don't have a home office can easily use this scanner by taking a picture of what they need from their cell phones.
Best Portable Document Scanner
The Visioneer Warrior 4D Duplex Color Scanner is a compact scanner that is both portable and powerful. This scanner allows you to quickly scan anything, from your receipts to business cards to magazine articles. The scanner can then convert your document into a PDF, JPG, or other popular file formats.
Using Visioneer OneTouch technology, you can scan your document to any destination with the press of a button, which eliminates the multiple steps that are usually required to convert scanned documents to other file formats.
This the best scanner for genealogists, researchers, and students. This is because of its portability, but also its inclusion of the clear carrier sheet for documents that are oddly shaped.
Best Document Scanner
This scanner is ideal for scanning business documents that are two-sided and several pages long. It can also easily scan documents that are up to 34 inches long, photographs, business cards, and laminated ID cards.
Due to its ease of use and reliability, this scanner is best for both business and home use where a lot of scanning is being performed and a durable machine is needed. This is the best scanner for the everyday person who doesn't need anything too fancy but wants to get a quality product for their money.
Best Professional Scanner
The Epson Perfection V850 Pro scanner provides you with professional-quality scans. This is the scanner that should be used by any professionals in film, photography or graphic design. With 6400 dpi, the quality of these images might be better than reality!
This scanner allows you both the quality and the control that you need to preserve original copies of documents. The professional-quality scans are easily transformed into a digital archive. The advanced optics and dual-lens scanning provide very clear results whether you are scanning old slides or film negatives.
You can order an optional fluid mount tray that offers wet mount scanning. This is useful if you want to cut down on any light that is refracted through your film strip. It also keeps the film strip flat, and it fills in any scratches on a black and white film.
This is a great scanner for anyone who is interested in creating quality replications of old photographs. It can be used by professionals, photographers, graphic artists, or people who have a strong passion for restoring historical photographs. With the high price, this is mainly suited for people who have a lot of scanning needs.
Best High-Speed Scanner
The Fujitsu iX500 Scan Snap Document Scanner mainly focuses on workflow and productivity. This scanner is able to create copies very quickly, yet it is still able to maintain decent quality. The fact is, it can scan up to 25 double-sided pages per minute.
While it is not designed to be photo realistic, it is more than sufficient to turn years' worth of papers into digital documents.
This scanner is helpful because it provides an intuitive guide through each step of the scanning process. It also allows you to access your documents on multiple devices whenever you need to do so. Once you scan a document, you can send it to several programs, including Microsoft Office, email, and SharePoint. This scanner is also able to safeguard personal information by generating password-protected PDF files.
This is the best scanner for anyone in a home work environement where they have a high volume of copying needed. For most "normal" work environments the less expensive "best document scanner" above is more than sufficient.
This scanner is ideal for any person or business who scans a large volume of documents on a regular basis and wants to get through them quickly.
Best Scanner Overall
All in all, the Brother ImageCenter ADS-2000e High-Speed Desktop Document Scanner is the best scanner overall in my opinion. This reasonably priced scanner is versatile for many different types of scanning needs. Although its quality is slightly compromised when scanning photos, it does its job well enough that it is worth the money.
Additionally, this is a high-speed printer. While it is not the best high-speed printer available on the market, the difference in price is worth the minimal amount of quality that you are sacrificing.
One of the most valuable things about this scanner is that it comes equipped with a lot of free software, including:
- Nuance™ PDF Converter Professional 7 (Windows®)
- Nuance™ Paper Port™ 12SE (Windows®)
- Presto!® PageManager® 9 (Mac®)
- Presto!® BizCard® 5 (Windows®/Mac®)
- Control Center 4 (Windows®)
- Control Center 2 (Mac®)
The combined price of these programs is essentially equal to the cost of the scanner, so it is well worth your money to buy this package. This robust suite of software is versatile and allows you to edit your documents in several ways. Here are a few of the ways:
- Highlight information in PDFs.
- Create and fill out electronic forms.
- Merge multiple file formats.
- Scan and export contact information directly to Microsoft Outlook® and other contact management systems.
This software bundle also has Twain and ISIS drivers, which allow you to scan from just about any program that includes a scan command. Each program is automatically installed during the scanner's setup, with the exception of BizCard and Nuance PDF converter. While these are on the same disc as the other programs, they have to be selected and installed separately.
The Control Center scan is great because it is simple and has a clean interface. It allows you to scan to four destinations with the touch of a button, including: Scan to Image (300 ppi JPEG); Scan to Email (200 ppi PDF); Scan to OCR (300 ppi .txt file), and Scan to File (300 ppi PDF). To modify your document, you just have to right-click on the buttons that you want. Then you can personalize the settings to your needs, such as change the resolution, change the scan type (black-and-white/24-bit color), change the size of the document, and set the brightness and the contrast.
While other scanners require you to buy these programs separately, I have found it to be especially helpful that these come with this scanner because sometimes you don't realize how helpful a program is until you have it. For instance, I wouldn't think of buying a program that allowed me to quickly make electronic forms that can be filled out, but now that I have it, I find it to be a huge time saver, and I use it often.
All in all, this scanner has some nifty features and is sold at an affordable price. I know a lot of the more expensive scanners don't have the feature to scan to USB thumb drives, which I have found to be helpful. This scanner is flexible and versatile, and really great for the average user.
It's your call, depending on what you need a scanner for, but for the price and the functions, I have found this to be the overall best scanner.
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