The 9 Best Document and Photo Scanners of 2020

Capturing documents and photos is easier than ever

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

The Rundown
"Scans everyday documents like business cards, receipts, and handwritten notes."
"Versatile and reliable, capable of scanning both high-quality images and documents."
Runner Up, Best Overall:
Epson Perfection V39 at Amazon
"A top choice if you want to scan, save, and archive aging family photos."
"Surprisingly affordable, with the ability to scan directly to cloud storage."
"About the size as a roll of Glad Wrap, making it easy to use or store just about anywhere."
"Smaller than most laptops and easy to use anywhere, thanks to wireless capabilities."
"Offers both Wi-Fi and Ethernet capability, plus easy scanning to cloud storage."
Best for Business Cards:
Ambir DP667 Card Scanner at Amazon
"For keeping track of business cards or licenses, it’s an effective and easy to use tool."
"This tiny scanner is packed with power, making it easy to scan on the go."

A document and photo scanner is a key piece of equipment for any home office or business. You’ll use it more frequently than you might think, scanning copies of business cards, receipts, documents, and more. Plus, it’s useful for scanning and saving digital copies of your heirloom family photos, ensuring they last for years to come. 

If you’re in the market for the best document and photo scanners, there are a few things to think about first. You want a device that’s easy to use, affordable, and can produce a clear, high-quality scan. Cloud storage, size, and scanning times may be important to you as well. We’ve researched and rounded up some of the best scanners on the market, coming from well-known brands such as Canon, Epson, and Fujitsu. When you need a document and photo scanner that produces clear and accurate digital copies of your important documents, here are the best scanners on the market for every budget.

Most Popular: Fujitsu ScanSnap iX1500 Document Scanner

What We Like
  • Lightning-fast, accurate scanning

  • Scan and send directly to Google Drive or Dropbox

  • Intuitive software

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Not compatible with ethernet connections

It’s hard to beat the FujitsuScanSnap iX1500 Document Scanner when it comes to scanning speed and quality. It can scan just about anything, including A4 and A3 paper, business cards, photos, and notes. With a scanning speed of 30 pages per minute and a 50-page automatic feeder, this scanner can scan faster than most, with the resulting scans accurate, clear, and bright. Control the device via its large touch screen, which allows you to use Wi-Fi connectivity to send scanned documents straight to cloud storage platforms like Dropbox or Google Drive.

The iX1500 uses software called ScanSnap, an intuitive platform that lets you access files and extract receipts that transfer to CSV files for easy tax filing, as well as a business card database compatible with Excel, Outlook, and Salesforce. ScanSnap uses optical character recognition (OCR), which helps you find your documents quickly by searching for keywords. With a sleek and modern design, it will look great on any desk. While it’s not the cheapest scanner, it’s extremely popular for both home or office use, thanks to its speed and high-tech features.

Curious about how these products function? Learn all about how scanners work.

“The FujitsuScanSnap iX1500 would be my choice for the office, since it can scan everything and you can easily send important documents straight to Google Docs.”Katie Dundas

Best All-Around: Epson Perfection V550

What We Like
  • Versatile and reliable

  • It can restore old, battered photos

  • Can scan slides, negatives, and film

What We Don't Like
  • Good value for a flatbed scanner

  • Large and bulky

Whether you work in an office or are looking for something for personal organization use, the Epson Perfection V550 is versatile and reliable, capable of scanning both high-quality images and documents. With rapid scanning and no warm-up time, it’s a flatbed scanner that’s ready to go in seconds and scans fast, so it helps save you time too. The V550 also contains OCR technology, turning your documents into editable text that allows you to send the scan to your printer, email it, or save it in the image format of your choice. Being a flatbed scanner, it is larger and more bulky than some of the other scanners reviewed here, so make sure you have space for it. 

As a photo scanner, the V550 offers strong performance, able to scan 35mm slides, negatives, and film. It also uses digital ICE technology, automatically removing any dust or scratches, amazing for bringing faded family photos back to life. Multiple photos can be scanned at once thanks to auto-edge detection that will crop and individually save each file. However, keep in mind that if you’re looking to scan a large number of documents, it does lack an automatic document feeder. It’s otherwise hard to fault this scanner, which offers dynamic, high-quality images with 6400 dpi optical resolution.

Runner Up, Best Overall: Epson Perfection V39

What We Like
  • Fantastic price

  • High-quality and accurate color scans

  • Scan directly to cloud storage

What We Don't Like
  • It can’t scan negatives or film

  • No auto feeder

The Epson Perfection V39 may be just the scanner for you, especially if you’re looking for a device specifically for photos. We love that this flatbed scanner is both affordable and accurate, creating digital documents with an impressive 4800 dpi optical resolution. It’s a top choice if you want to scan, save, and archive aging family photos or important documents. Once scanned, you can send directly to cloud storage systems like Evernote or Google Drive, or send to an email address.

Thanks to the removable lid, you can even scan larger or bulky items like books, making it a useful scanner for students. Plus, with a built-in kickstand, you can store the V39 vertically, which is useful for storage. However, there’s no auto feeder, so it may not be the best choice if you need to scan a large number of documents quickly. It also can’t scan film, but it’s an otherwise fantastic scanner choice–especially if you need a scanner for photos that won’t break the bank.

Best Budget: Canon CanoScan LiDE400

What We Like
  • Very affordable

  • Fast scanning

  • Supports cloud services

What We Don't Like
  • Scan quality could be higher

  • Can be tricky to set up with a Mac

The Canon CanoScan LiDE 400 Photo and Document Scanner is one of the best options for an effective scanner on a budget. It’s surprisingly affordable, with impressive features like the ability to scan directly to cloud storage and an auto-scan mode, which detects the size of your documents automatically. It scans to a maximum dpi of 4800 x 4800, which provides clear and accurate digital scans. 

It works fast too, scanning within eight seconds. Plus, its compact and thin size makes it easy to store. The buttons on the front of the device make it easy to use, letting you scan quickly and even create editable PDFs that you can save to your computer’s hard drive. For the price, it’s hard to look past this effective, simple, and compact scanner. It comes with a one-year warranty, as well as one-year of toll-free technical phone support.

Best Compact: Brother DSmobile DS-940DW

What We Like
  • Extremely small and compact

  • Quickly scan single or double-sided documents

  • Wi-Fi and USB connectivity

What We Don't Like
  • Scanning multiple pages into one PDF can be challenging

  • Low battery life when operating on Wi-Fi

The Brother DSmobile DS-940DW is a compact printer about the size as a roll of Glad Wrap, making it easy to use or store just about anywhere. With no trays or large compartments, you could even fit in a backpack. It’s an impressive scanner as well, with fast scanning at 16 pages per minute of both single and double-sided documents or business cards. It’s also Wi-Fi and USB enabled, so it’s easy to transfer scanned documents to wherever they need to go, including mobile devices. However, some users report difficulty in scanning multiple documents into a single PDF, although it can be done via the included software. 

There’s no auto-feed option, so you may not want to use this device for big projects. But, if you’re short on space and need something small and effective, the DS-940DW is a top choice, especially for a home office set up.

Best for Mobility: Visioneer RoadWarrior 4D Duplex Mobile Color Scanner

What We Like
  • Portable, compact device

  • Useful software supports OCR

  • Supports cloud services

What We Don't Like
  • Some included software features only work on Windows

  • Documents need to be inserted carefully, or they can easily become crooked

Sometimes, the nature of work means that you’re constantly on the go. If you need a scanner that can keep up, try out the Visioneer RoadWarrior 4D Duplex Mobile Color Scanner. At only 11.5 inches long, 2.6 inches wide, 1.6 inches tall, and a weight of 1.1 pounds, it’s smaller than even most laptops and easy to use anywhere, thanks to wireless capabilities and USB charging. The RoadWarrior 4D scans quickly and cleanly, at a rate of eight seconds per page, and can capture color, grayscale, and monochrome scans. Then, use the included OneTouch software to send the scanned document in various formats to multiple locations, such as your hard drive, an email, or to Dropbox, Salesforce Chatter, or Google Docs. That being said, some of the software features, like OCR, only work on Windows, so it may not suit Mac users.

We like that it’s affordable, easy to use, and portable, so it’s highly recommended if you’re looking for a scanner that you can use from anywhere.

Best Wireless: Brother ADS-2700W

What We Like
  • Very fast and accurate scanning

  • Works with both Wi-Fi and Ethernet

  • Scan directly to just about any device or cloud storage

What We Don't Like
  • Small touch screen

  • OCR doesn’t work if scanning to a mobile device

Having a scanner with wireless capability is key for many business owners, giving you flexibility and options to scan from anywhere. If wireless is something you need in a printer, the compact Brother ADS-2700W offers both Wi-Fi and Ethernet capability, plus easy scanning to cloud storage, a USB, email, a mobile device, and more. The ADS-2700W makes your scanning more efficient as well, as its image-optimization features can eliminate blank pages, enhance colors, or remove unnecessary backgrounds as needed. Scanning is fast also, with the help of a 50-page auto feeder. Businesses will also appreciate its security features, which include SSL, TLS, SFTP, and Settings Lock. 

One thing to note is that the touch screen is small, at just under three inches, which some people might find hard to work with. If you need a versatile and fast wireless scanner, we recommend the ADS-2700W.

Best for Business Cards: Ambir DP667 Card Scanner

What We Like
  • Lightweight and portable

  • Designed specifically to quickly scan cards and small documents

  • Completely powered by USB

What We Don't Like
  • Can't scan bigger items

  • Scanning can be slow

Imagine a scanner specifically for small documents like business cards— sounds ideal for business conferences? This is just what Ambir has done, designing the lightweight and portable DP667. It’s USB powered and easy to use from anywhere, with the ability to scan business cards to documents measuring up to 4 x 10 inches — all at 600 dpi. It makes scanning simple and you can easily create PDFs of documents, useful for businesses like hotels who need to take copies of guest IDs.

Scanning isn’t the fastest, as this device isn’t designed for rapid scanning of large documents. But for keeping track of business cards or licenses, it’s an effective and easy to use tool that will help you stay organized when it comes to networking, tax receipts, or IDs. It can’t accommodate larger items, but it works beautifully for its intended purpose of smaller documents.

“As someone who frequently attends conferences, the Ambir DP667 would be ideal for making sure I don’t misplace important cards, and I like that it could fit in my handbag easily.”Katie Dundas

Best Mobile: IRISCan Book 5 Wi-Fi Mobile Scanner

What We Like
  • Packed with powerful features

  • Quick scanning from anywhere

  • Can be charged while scanning

What We Don't Like
  • Struggles to scan book pages

  • Battery life could be longer

This tiny scanner is packed with power, making it easy to scan on the go. With the IRIScan Book 5 Wi-Fi, you’re able to scan your documents into JPEG, PDF, and multipage PDF formats and send them to your mobile devices or PC.

Need to make changes? The IRIScan Book 5 can make text editable. Unlike other mobile scanners, this device is used by dragging the document you’re scanning over the top of it, rather than having pages fed through it. For example, you could use it to scan pages of a book and convert it into an ebook, which is useful. It comes with a 4GB microSD card and has mini USB ports for charging and transferring data.

While the battery only lasts about 100 scans, it can be charged while it’s scanning a document. The IRIScan Book 5 can scan a black-and-white document in one second, and a color document in two. A 1.5-inch color screen lets you immediately preview your scans, and you can customize your resolution up to from 300 up to 1200 DPI. We enjoy its innovative, handheld design, small size, and quick scanning times.

Final Verdict

Our top overall choice for a document and photo scanner is the Epson Perfection V550. It has everything you’d want in a scanner, including ease of use, quick and accurate scanning, and OCR capabilities. Otherwise, the Epson Perfection V39, especially if you’re looking for a scanner specifically for photos. It’s affordable, offers clear and accurate scanning, and its removable lid makes it great for scanning oversized documents.

How We Tested

None of these picks for our favorite document and photo scanners have been tested by our team of trusted experts quite yet, but they'll be running each of our picks through a gauntlet of high-resolution photos and fine-print documents to help you find which one is best for you. They'll be checking for things like color accuracy and speed, as well as checking off any cool features for specific models.

About Our Trusted Experts

Gabe Carey is Tech Commerce Editor at Lifewire. He's previously been published on PCMag, TechRadar, PC Gamer, GamesRadar, and Digital Trends. He's very familiar with consumer technology, computer hardware, and accessories.

Alan Bradley is Tech Editor at Lifewire. He has over a decade of experience in the industry and has previously been published on Rolling Stone, The Escapist, PC Gamer, GamesRadar+, and other publications. He's familiar with computer hardware, including document scanners and he liked the Fujitsu for its useful sorting software.

Ajay Kumar is Tech Editor at Lifewire. He has over seven years of experience in the industry and has previously been published on PCMag and Newsweek. He's reviewed thousands of products, including but not limited to phones, laptops, printers, scanners, and other hardware. He liked the Ambir Card Scanner for cutting down on the clutter at trade shows.

Katie Dundas is a freelance journalist and tech writer, with over two years of experience in tech writing. As a photographer, she’s very familiar with scanners and likes the Epson Perfection V550 for its ability to restore old photos.

What to Look for When Buying Photo and Document Scanners

Media type - Think about how you plan to use your scanner. Some are great at scanning photos, while others excel at creating pristine copies of letters and other documents. Higher-end units include adjustable sliders or even separate bays to handle more difficult documents like laminated identification cards.

Scan speed - If you scan a lot of documents — or if you have boxes of old photos you need to digitize — then scan speed is a huge concern. Look at how many pages a scanner can handle per minute, but also keep in mind that scanners with automatic document feeders help speed up the process and free you from the necessity of manually placing each item in the scanner.

Cloud support - Some document and photo scanners are capable of scanning and uploading directly to the cloud. If you want easy access to your scanned files, look for a scanner that supports Google Drive, Dropbox, or whatever cloud service you use.