The 9 Best Document and Photo Scanners of 2021

Capturing documents and photos is easier than ever

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The Rundown
"The iX1600 includes a sizable 4.3-inch touchscreen display, faster scanning speeds, and enhanced software."
Runner Up, Best Overall:
Epson Perfection V39 at Amazon
"If you have a need for a scanner specifically for photos, the Epson Perfection V39 may be the perfect scanner for you."
"This scanner is capable of rapidly scanning high-quality images and documents without needing to warm up."
"The iX1400’s top-notch features include a scanning speed of 40-pages per minute and a 50-sheet automatic document feeder."
"This scanner’s impressive features are shocking in conjunction with its budget-friendly price tag."
"The DSmobile DS-940DW is ideal for any location, as it’s about the size as a roll of Glad Wrap."
"If you need a scanner that can keep up with your own on-the-go lifestyle, you may want to try this scanner from Visioneer."
"The scanner’s image-optimization features can eliminate blank pages, enhance colors, or remove unnecessary backgrounds."
Best for Business Cards:
Ambir DP667 Card Scanner at Amazon
"The lightweight and portable scanner is USB-powered and easy to use from anywhere."

Like computers, printers, and other essential office devices, a quality document and photo scanner is an important piece of equipment for a business, home office, traveler, or student. Scanners are a hot commodity for those in need of preserving business cards, receipts, and important documents. A document and photo scanner is also critical in scanning and saving family heirlooms such as photos, wills, or recipes. In the case of saving something for personal or business reasons, a scanner will guarantee documents and photos alike will last for years to come.  

The market for document and photo scanners can be daunting. To find the best scanner for your needs, there are a few things to think about before your purchase. Most people require a scanner that is simple to use, easy on their pockets, and can create a clear, high-quality digital file. Moreover, depending on the volume of documents and photos, people also consider cloud storage, size, and scanning times. 

Luckily, we’ve researched and identified some of the best scanners on the market, coming from well-known, longstanding brands such as Fujitsu, Epson, and Brother. When you’re in need of a document and photo scanner that produces clear and accurate digital copies of your most important documents, we have you covered.

Best Overall: Fujitsu ScanSnap iX1600

What We Like
  • Wireless and Ethernet connectivity

  • Customizable, individual scanning profiles

  • Impressive touchscreen

What We Don't Like
  • Difficult setup process

Fujitsu’s ScanSnap iX1600 is everything you need in a scanner. The all-in-one document scanner offers several new and improved features which account for its rise to Fujitsu’s flagship scanner. Unlike its well-liked predecessor, the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX1500, the iX1600 includes a sizable 4.3-inch touchscreen display, faster scanning speeds, and enhanced software that accelerates workflows.

Not only is the easy-to-use ScanSnap iX1600 speedy and offers up to 30 customizations, users can connect from anywhere. The scanner can be wired or work wirelessly. In particular, the iX1600 has a USB Type-B connection, Wi-Fi (2.4GHz/5GHz) capability, and Bluetooth connectivity. Due to the increased simplicity of connecting your devices to the scanner, Fujitsu has incorporated a feature to create individual users and separate profiles. With this feature, regardless of who is scanning and what they’re scanning, documents will reach their destination without trouble. 

It’s worth noting that while the connectivity specifications are impressive, the setup process is known to be slightly challenging. The tricky aspect of the setup process is related to connecting the all-in-one scanner with computers and mobile devices. On the bright side, once settings and preferences are established, the many benefits are worth the confusion. The iX1600’s ability to scan a receipt destined for Dropbox or a document converted into an email speaks volumes to the feasibility of transforming an array of physical documents into digital files with varying destinations.

“All in all, the ScanSnap ix1600 builds upon a long-respected line of scanners, adding new and improved features over its predecessors.” Gannon Burgett, Product Tester

Runner Up, Best Overall: Epson Perfection V39

What We Like
  • Ability to scan large items

  • Easy to store

  • Cloud storage support

What We Don't Like
  • Unable to scan film

  • No auto feeder

If you have a need for a scanner specifically for photos, the Epson Perfection V39 may be the perfect scanner for you. This flatbed scanner is both affordable and precise, producing digital documents with a remarkable 4800dpi optical resolution. Once your document or photo is scanned, you can send it directly to cloud storage systems such as Evernote or Google Drive, or you can send it to an email address. If you want to scan, save, and archive aging family photos or important documents while not being charged an arm and leg, the V39 is the way to go.

The scanner’s removable lid allows users to scan large and bulky items such as books, making the scanner useful for students. Although the scanner is able to process larger items, its also storage-friendly. The V39 and its integrated kickstand allow the scanner to be stored vertically. Unfortunately, the V39 doesn’t have an auto feeder, so scanning a large number of documents quickly isn’t feasible. The scanner is also unable to scan film. While the V39 isn’t the fastest scanner on the market, it’s perfect if you need an economical scanner for photos.

Best Versatile: Epson Perfection V550

What We Like
  • Versatile to various needs

  • Ability to restore and enhance photos

  • Capability to scan slides, negatives, and film

What We Don't Like
  • Design and size

  • Omission of an automatic document feeder

Do you need a reliable work or home scanner? The Epson Perfection V550’s versatility lends itself for office or personal use. The scanner is capable of rapidly scanning high-quality images and documents without needing to warm up. Much of the V550’s speed can be attributed to its flatbed design. Users save time since the scanner is always ready to go and is able to scan quickly. While the flatbed scanner has numerous benefits, it comes with a challenge in terms of its size. For instance, the V550 is larger and bulkier than some of the other scanners we’ve reviewed. Don’t fret, just make sure you make space on your desk. 

As a document scanner, users are pleased to learn the V550 contains Optical Character Resolution (OCR) technology. Users are able to turn scanned documents into editable text. After the documents are converted into editable digital files, users can submit the scanned copy to a printer, email it, or save it in their preferred image format.

Conversely, as a photo scanner, the V550 offers a multitude of features. It's able to scan 35mm slides, negatives, and film as well as produce images with 6400dpi optical resolution. The scanner relies upon digital ICE technology that enriches photos. This type of technology automatically removes dust or scratches, revamping dated and faded family photos without difficulty. The scanner can also process multiple photos at once.

The V550 has an auto-edge detection attribute, unlike the document-aspect of the scanner, that will crop and individually save each photo. While you’re unable to scan a large number of documents at once due to the omission of an automatic document feeder (ADF), you can’t beat the other features offered by the V550.

Best Ease of Use: Fujitsu ScanSnap iX1400

What We Like
  • Individual scanning profiles

  • Scanning speed

  • 50-sheet automatic document feeder

What We Don't Like
  • Lack of wireless connectivity

  • No built-in touchscreen

Fujitsu has made our list a second time with the ScanSnap iX1400. Compared to the iX1600, the iX1400 lacks in certain premium capabilities. Specifically, the iX1400 doesn’t offer wireless connectivity or a built-in touchscreen. Its scanning specifications, however, are indistinguishable. The iX1400’s top-notch features include a scanning speed of 40-page per minute (PPM) and a 50-sheet automatic document feeder (ADF) that make scanning a batch of documents a seamless experience. 

The iX1400's simplicity can be credited to its overall design and Fujitsu's ScanSnap Home software. This software allows users to establish scanning profiles that can be toggled between depending on need. In terms of design, the iX1400 shares a similar appearance to its predecessor, the iX1500, including a single button to trigger scanning. Customization is available for each profile to guarantee your scanned document and digital data land in the right location. Whether you’re scanning a business card, receipt, invoice, contract, or photo, your document will be expeditiously scanned and organized in a manner most suitable to your workflow.

“As a whole, I found the Fujitsu ScanSnap ix1400 to be a reliable and versatile scanner that looks great in the office.” Gannon Burgett, Product Tester

Best Budget: Canon CanoScan LiDE400

Canon CanoScan LiDE220
What We Like
  • Budget-friendly

  • Auto-scan mode

  • Maximum DPI for clear and accurate scans

  • Compact size

What We Don't Like
  • Setup process for Mac users

The Canon CanoScan LiDE 400 Photo and Document Scanner is affordable yet effective. The scanner’s impressive features are shocking in conjunction with its budget-friendly price tag. For instance, users have the ability to scan directly to cloud storage. Whether documents are being scanned to cloud storage or another device, the CanoScan LiDE 400’s auto-scan mode detects the size of your documents without human intervention. Speaking of document size, CanoScan LiDE 400 scans to a maximum dpi of 4800 x 4800, which guarantees not only clear but accurate digital scans. 

The buttons located on the front of the scanner provide for quick scanning. Once scanned, this machine is able to create PDFs that can be saved directly to your computer’s hard drive. The inexpensive scanner brags of scanning within 8 seconds, so if you’re in a hurry, you can count on your documents being processed quickly. In addition to the CanoScan LiDE 400’s speediness, the scanner is compact in size making it easy to store. 

Beyond its features and price tag, this effective, simple, and compact scanner comes with a one-year warranty and one year of toll-free technical phone support. If you’re looking for a scanner that will get the job done without breaking the bank, the Canon CanoScan LiDE 400 Photo and Document Scanner is one of the best options available.

Best Compact: Brother DSmobile DS-940DW

What We Like
  • Compact and easily portable

  • Scanning speed for single and double-sided documents

  • Duality of Wi-Fi and USB connectivity

What We Don't Like
  • No auto-feed option

  • May not be able to process larger items due to small size

In 2020, we learned the importance of organization whether it be our office or home space. A compact scanner such as the DSmobile DS-940DW is ideal for any location, as it’s about the size as a roll of Glad Wrap. Since this compact scanner doesn’t have trays or large compartments, users are able to store and scan almost anywhere.

The DS-940DW’s size presents one shortcoming in that it doesn’t include an auto-feed option. If you need a scanner for large projects, the DS-940DW might not be for you. However, if you’re short on space or want to minimize your current setup, but have a need for an effective scanner, the DS-940DW is the best choice, particularly for a home office.

Although compact, this scanner has impressive specifications. The DS-940DW can scan 16 pages per minute of both single and double-sided documents or business cards. The DS-940DW is Wi-Fi and USB enabled so that when you’re ready to scan a document, you can easily do so from your laptop or mobile device. Users have reported difficulty with scanning multiple documents into a single PDF, but have said the issue is resolved when using the included software.

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

Visioneer's RoadWarrior 4D Mobile Scanner
What We Like
  • Portable and compact for people on the go

  • Software that supports OCR and cloud services

  • Captures color, grayscale, and monochrome scans

What We Don't Like
  • Some included software features aren't Mac-friendly

  • Documents must be organized or inserted carefully or risk becoming crooked

If you need a scanner that can keep up with your own on-the-go lifestyle, you may want to try the Visioneer RoadWarrior 4D Duplex Mobile Color Scanner. Coming in at 11.5 inches long, 2.6 inches wide, 1.6 inches tall, and a weight of 1.1 pounds, the scanner is smaller than most laptops. The RoadWarrior 4D’s portability is enhanced due to its wireless capabilities and USB charging.

This compact scanner is small but mighty. The RoadWarrior 4D scans quickly and cleanly at a rate of 8 seconds per page. It also captures color, grayscale, and monochrome scans. In employing the OneTouch software included with the RoadWarrior 4D, users can send the scanned documents in various formats to different locations. In particular, scans can be delivered to your hard drive, an email address, Dropbox, Salesforce Chatter, or Google Docs

It’s important to note the software does come with limitations as some of the software features, such as Optical Character Recognition (OCR), are compatible only with Windows and not Mac devices. All in all, the portable and high-performing RoadWarrior 4D is affordable and easy to use. If you need a scanner that you can throw in your backpack or briefcase to use wherever this is the right scanner for you.

Best Wireless: Brother ADS-2700W

What We Like
  • Scan speed and scan accuracy

  • 50-page automatic feeder

  • Security features to protect scanned documents

What We Don't Like
  • Small, 3-inch touchscreen

  • OCR isn't functional when scanning to a mobile device

If you enjoy the convenience of scanning from anywhere, you’ll enjoy the wireless capability of the Brother ADS-2700W. Many people, especially business owners, seek the flexibility and options associated with a wireless scanner. The combined scanner also offers Ethernet capability, providing for effortless scanning to cloud storage, a USB, email, a mobile device, and much more. 

Not only does the ADS-2700W make scanning easy, but it also makes scanning more efficient as well. The scanner’s image-optimization features can eliminate blank pages, enhance colors, or remove unnecessary backgrounds as necessary. Additionally, the ADS-2700W scans quickly with the assistance of a 50-page auto feeder. People and businesses scanning personal or confidential documents will also appreciate the Brother ADS-2700W’s security features, which include SSL and TLS, secure file transfer protocol, and Settings Lock. 

The only downfall of the scanner may be its small touchscreen. The screen, measuring at just under 3 inches, may be difficult to navigate for some people. Nonetheless, 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 to quickly scan cards and small documents

  • Ability to convert into a PDF file

What We Don't Like
  • Can scan only small items

  • Not the fastest scanning speed

If you need a scanner for smaller documents such as business cards or small pictures, the Ambir DP667 Card Scanner is ideal for you. Whether you’re on the go, don’t have much space, or don’t have complex scanning needs, the DP667’s features will suit your needs. The lightweight and portable scanner is USB-powered and easy to use from anywhere. It can scan business cards and documents measuring up to 4 x 10 inches—all at a whopping 600 dpi. After being scanned, your smaller documents and cards can be converted into PDF documents

Sadly, the DP667 isn’t the fastest scanner on the market. Considering the fact that Ambir didn’t design it to process large documents, the DP667 may take longer to scan than a larger, more powerful scanner. However, for those needing to scan items such as business cards, licenses, or receipts, the scanner is effective and easy to use. Whether you’re networking at a conference or processing ID cards at a hotel desk, the DP667 can accommodate your needs. If you need to organize your small documents in an effective manner, the DP667 is ideal as it makes scanning simple.

“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

Final Verdict

After our in-depth review of nine different document and photo scanners, our analysis determined the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX1600 is the best overall option. Without exaggerating, the iX1600 has everything a person wants and needs in a scanner. It's easy to use, speedy, and accurate in addition to being accompanied by great software.


If you don’t need the bells and whistles that are included with the iX1600, the Epson Perfection V39 may be up your alley. If you’re looking for a scanner specifically for photos, the reasonably-priced V39 also offers clear and accurate scanning. Not to mention the scanner’s removable lid works wonders for scanning oversized documents.

About Our Trusted Experts

Nicky LaMarco has been writing and editing for more than 15 years for consumer, trade, and technology publications about many topics including: antivirus, web hosting, backup software, and other technologies. 

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.

Gannon Burgett has been writing for Lifewire since 2018 covering a variety of consumer electronics ranging from printers and scanners to cameras and projectors. He's also been published in Gizmodo, Digital Trends, yahoo News, PetaPixel, DPReview, Imaging Resource, and more.

What to Look for When Buying Photo and Document Scanners

Media type - Ask yourself what you plan on scanning. Knowing whether you’re going to scan documents, photos, or both is necessary prior to making a decision. Some scanners are better for scanning photos than documents. Others are better at creating pristine copies of letters and other documents instead of photos. Depending on your budget, higher-end units are great at scanning both photos and documents and also include features such as adjustable sliders or even separate bays to handle more difficult documents including laminated identification cards.

Scan speed - If you’re often short on time or you have a large number of items to scan, you want to ensure your scanner can quickly handle your scanning needs. Examine how many pages a scanner can handle per minute. Be sure to also look at scanners with automatic document feeders. Automatic document feeders are sure to help speed up the scanning process and eliminate the time you would spend manually placing each item in the scanner.

Cloud support - Do you want to access your scanned documents from anywhere? If so, figure out which scanners include cloud support. Today, many document and photo scanners are capable of scanning and uploading files directly to the cloud. In looking for a cloud-friendly scanner, find one that supports Google Drive, Dropbox, or your preferred cloud service.

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