The 7 Best Document and Photo Scanners of 2020

Capturing documents and photos is easier than ever

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The Rundown

Most Popular: Fujitsu ScanSnap iX1500 Document Scanner at Amazon

"Scans everyday documents like business cards, receipts, and handwritten notes."

Best All-Around: Epson Perfection V550 at Amazon

"With rapid scanning and no warm-up time, the flatbed device pays heed to your busy schedule."

Best Budget: Canon CanoScan LiDE400 at Amazon

"At just under $100, it scans documents and photos and sends them automatically to the cloud."

Best for Film: Epson's Perfection V370 Photo Scanner at Amazon

"Use bundled adapters to scan film or slides, or scan regular photos up to 13 x 19 inches."

Best for Mobility: RoadWarrior 4D Duplex Mobile Color Scanner at Amazon

"OneTouch software can send the scanned document in various formats to multiple locations."

Best for Business Cards: Ambir DP667 Card Scanner at Amazon

"The size of a stapler, it can efficiently scan documents ranging from business cards to those measuring up to 4 x 10 inches — all at 600 dpi."

Runner-Up, Mobile: IRISCan Book 5 Wi-Fi Mobile Scanner at Amazon

"Scan your documents into JPEG, PDF, and multipage PDF formats and send them to your mobile devices or PC."

A document and photo scanner is a vital part of any home office or workplace. A dedicated scanner tends to be a bit better in terms of image quality than an all-in-one printer. If you find yourself frequently scanning documents, photos, and business cards, getting a high-quality scanner can pay off. We've researched and evaluated a number of the best scanners on the market from brands like Fujitsu, Epson, Canon, and others.

If your needs are more image-specific, you should also take a look at our list of best photo printers.

Most Popular: Fujitsu ScanSnap iX1500 Document Scanner

Fujitsu ScanSnap
Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500. Fujitsu
What We Like
  • Scans everyday documents

  • Supports optical character recognition

  • Exports documents quickly

  • Intuitive software

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

The FujitsuScanSnap iX1500 Document Scanner scans everyday documents like business cards, A4 and A3 paper sizes, receipts, and handwritten 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.

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

"The ability to scan to a phone and computer wirelessly is invaluable, and the software to sort your documents is useful."Alan Bradley, Tech Editor

Best All-Around: Epson Perfection V550

What We Like
  • Versatile and reliable

  • Rapid scanning and no warm up time

  • Can scan slides, negatives, and film

What We Don't Like
  • Software on Mac isn't great

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, the flatbed device pays heed to your busy schedule. ABBYY FineReader Spring Plus OCR turns your documents into editable text and also allows you to send the scan to your printer, email it, or save it in the image format of your choice. However, keep in mind that if you’re looking to scan a large number of documents, it does lack an automatic document feeder.

As a photo scanner, the V550 offers strong performance, able to scan 35mm slides, negatives, and film, with digital ICE technology, automatically removing any dust or scratches, and Easy Photo Fix helping restore the look of faded images. Multiple photos can be scanned at once thanks to auto-edge detection that will crop and individually save each file. Expect dynamic, high-quality images with 6400 dpi optical resolution that supports enlargements up to 17 x 22 inches.

Best Budget: Canon CanoScan LiDE400

Canon CanoScan LiDE220
Courtesy of Amazon.com
What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Auto Scan mode detects sizing

  • Supports cloud services

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

At just under $100 at Amazon, Canon’s CanoScan LiDE400 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 set up each scan manually.

The CanoScan LiDE400'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 with 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.

Best for Film: Epson's Perfection V370 Photo Scanner

Epson Perfection V370
Courtesy of Amazon.com

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 we should add there's also the inexpensive and the high-end.

We've chosen the Perfection V370 because not only can you use the bundled adapters to scan film or slides, but you can also scan any regular photo up to 13 x 19 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.

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

Visioneer's RoadWarrior 4D Mobile Scanner
Visioneer's RoadWarrior 4D Mobile Scanner. Visioneer
What We Like
  • Small and light

  • Useful software

  • Supports cloud services

What We Don't Like
  • Some features can be finicky

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, grayscale 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.

Best for Business Cards: Ambir DP667 Card Scanner

What We Like
  • Lightweight and portable

  • Works best for cards and licenses

  • Powered by USB

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

Lightweight and easy to transport, the Ambir DP667 is a business’s new best friend. The size of a stapler, it can efficiently scan documents ranging from business cards to those measuring up to 4 x 10 inches — all at 600 dpi.

It can accommodate other items including driver’s licenses, embossed cards, photos, and insurance cards, and it can convert receipts into PDFs, making it an efficient option for professionals ranging from hospital administrators to security experts to service organizations.

Fully powered by USB, the scanner does not require additional batteries or an AC power adapter, making it convenient for those working on the go. 

"If you go to a lot of trade shows and end up collecting a lot of business cards, the Ambir DP667 can help keep you organized by digitizing everything." Ajay Kumar, Tech Editor

Runner-Up, Mobile: IRISCan Book 5 Wi-Fi Mobile Scanner

What We Like
  • Packed with powerful features

  • Can make text editable

  • Can be charged while scanning

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

This tiny scanner is packed with power, allowing you to take care of business 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 one is dragged over what you’re scanning, rather than having pages fed through it, making it optimal for copying something from a magazine or book. 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. According to the company, it 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

Final Verdict

If you need a document and photo scanner in your home office or workplace, the best one to get is ther Fujitsu ScanSnap iX1500. It works great for a wide variety of items, from A3 and A4 papers, business cards, receipts, and notes. The software is also useful for managing documents and exporting them to the cloud over Wi-Fi. If you need a less costly option, the Epison V550 is a good bet. It works best for personal organization in your home office. It has a fast scan time and requires no warm up, making sure you don't waste any time.

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.

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.