The 7 Best Document and Photo Scanners of 2016

Capturing documents and photos is easier than ever

In 2016, scanners, both document and photo scanners, run the gambit of the inexpensive to the relatively costly, and everywhere between. If you're unsure which one you should buy, we've put together a list of the seven best scanners you will find on the market today. So whether you want to capture copies of your favorite "keeper" images, or perhaps your budget limits you to under $100, or maybe you need to capture and store information or documents on your computer, mobile device, or in the cloud, there's a scanner that's right for you.

1
Best All-Around: HP Scanjet Enterprise Flow 7500 Flatbed Scanner

scanjetFlow7500.jpg
HP Scanjet Enterprise Flow 7500 Flatbed Scanner. HP

Assuming that "Best All-Around" means just that, the best for most or even all types of jobs. In other words, a document scanner doesn't often make a good photo scanner and vice versa, for a number of reasons. What makes this Scanjet unique is that it is both a flatbed scanner, like your typical photo scanner, and it has an automatic document feeder, or ADF, for auto-feeding the flatbed documents. 

The Scanjet Enterprise Flow 7500 is also a high-volume heavy-hitter capable of scanning up to 3,000 pages per day, which comes out to about 1.1 million scans per year. It's ADF holds 50 2-sided originals of all shapes and sizes, and it scans at the rate of about 50 pages per minute (ppm) in simplex, or single-sided mode, and 100 images per minute (ipm) in duplex, or single-sided mode. 

Granted, this Scanjet may cost a little more most others, but then it's also equipped to do a lot more.

2
Best for Film: Epson's Perfection V330 Photo Scanner

Epson Perfection V330 Photo Scanner
Epson Perfection V330 Photo Scanner. Photo courtesy Epson

There are many things to consider when buying a scanner for digitizing 35mm film and slides. You can buy a dedicated film and slide scanner or a high-resolution photo scanner with the ability to also scan film and slides, typically with some kind of adapter for use with a flatbed platen. Oh yes, and I should add there's also the inexpensive and the high-end.

About.com has chosen the Perfection V330 because not only can you use the bundled adapters to scan film or slides, but you can also scan any regular photo up to 8.5 x 11 inches, as well as documents, as long as you don't mind scanning them one page at a time, without the aid of an automatic document feeder.

3
Best Budget: Canon CanoScan LiDE220

Canon CanoScan LiDE220
Courtesy of Amazon.com

At just under $100 at Amazon, Canon’s CanoScan LiDE220 Photo and Document Scanner is affordable. It  scans your documents and photos and sends them automatically to your cloud based services, such as Evernote and Dropbox. An Auto Scan Mode feature detects the sizing and adjusts settings automatically while scanning, saving you time from having to setup each scan manually.

The CanoScan LiDE220's maximum dpi is 4800 x 4800 with a 48-bit color depth with over 281 trillion possible colors. That's relatively high, but high-end photo scanners, such as Epson's $1,000 Perfection V850 Pro Photo Scanner, can go much higher, as high as 6,400dpi and beyond.  Its impressive speed allows a letter-sized document to be scanned in 10 seconds. Accessible buttons on the device make for quick activation for scans, copies, exporting to cloud services or saving as a PDF on your computer’s hard drive.

It’s compatible on both Windows and Mac operating systems and it comes with a one-year warranty, as well as one-year of toll-free technical phone support.

4
Best Budget Document: Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 Document Scanner

Fujitsu ScanSnap
Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500. Fujitsu

The FujitsuScanSnap iX500 Document Scanner scans everyday documents like business cards, A4 and A3 paper sizes, receipts and hand written notes. It comes with a slew of productivity software for optical character recognition, or OCR, and it exports documents quickly to virtually any modern device or cloud service you can think of. And like one or two other scanners on this list, it includes Wi-Fi connectivity.

It comes with its own application software designed to store and categorize every document that you scan. The scanner’s software is ScanSnap, a program with an intuitive menu for easy access to files, quick cloud service exporting, receipt extraction that transfers to CSV files for easy tax filing, as well as a business card database compatible with Excel, Outlook, and Salesforce.

5
Best for Mobility: Visioneer RoadWarrior 4D Duplex Mobile Color Scanner

Visioneer's RoadWarrior 4D Mobile Scanner
Visioneer's RoadWarrior 4D Mobile Scanner. Visioneer

The Visioneer RoadWarrior 4D Duplex Mobile Color Scanner is 11.5 inches long, 2.6 inches wide, 1.6 inches tall, and it weighs a slight 1.1 pounds. Compared to most laptops most of us carry around with us, it's quite small and light.

It's smart enough to recognize what you're scanning and capable of capturing color, gray scale and monochrome scans. A OneTouch software feature can send the scanned document in various formats to multiple locations, such as your hard drive, an email, the cloud. If the page is double-sided, the single-pass scanner scans both sides simultaneously. At the press of a button, the scanner will take your data and format it into a searchable PDF file.

Scanned documents are set to your choice of cloud based storage applications like Evernote, SugarSync, Google Docs, Salesforce Chatter and Dropbox, among others. It also comes with some of the best OCR and document management software from Nuance, including Nuance OmniPage Pro and Nuance PaperPort, respectively.

6
Best for Business Cards: PenPower WorldCard Pro

PenPower WorldCard Pro
Courtesy of Amazon.com

The PenPower WorldCard Pro Business Card Scanner has the most useful features (for scanning business cards) of scanners on the list; it’s designed to digitize business cards in seconds. That’s it. Just business cards, and whatever other paper that measures 3.5 x 2 inches. It can also recognize multiple languages. But you'd buy it, of course, only if you didn't need to scan anything else, other than business cards, that is.

When you finish scanning, you can save the data by exporting to an address book on your computer or another mobile device, as well as Microsoft Entourage. The WorldCard Pro sends the data to format selections through vCard, CSV, text, HTML, and image files, depending on your selection, providing versatile options for saving your data.

You can find specific data through both simple text or advanced searches. If you click on an address or website that’s on the scanned digital business card, it will link to the map and webpage directly.

7
Runner Up, Mobile: Epson WorkForce DS-40 Color Portable Scanner

Epson WorkForce DS-40 Document Scanner
Scan on the road, virtually anywhere. Epson

There are many things to like about Epson’s DS-40, including its (comparably) low price. At a $179.99 MSRP, it’s one of the cheapest of the mobile printers I’ve looked at recently, as well as one of the smallest and lightest, too. Especially handy is this scanner’s ability run on (four AA) batteries, which you should find especially handy if you don’t have a charging USB 2.0 port available.

Between Epson’s proprietary Epson Document Scanner Pro and Abby FineReader Sprint, as well as the ability to scan to numerous cloud sites, this little WorkForce scanner is capable and easy-to-use. If you’ve ever used Epson’s scanner interface app, Epson Scan, which also comes with all of the company’s all-in-one and small-in-one printers, then you already know how robust yet easy-to-use the DS-40 really is.

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