Last Updated on
There might be affiliate links on this page, which means we get a small commission of anything you buy. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Please do your own research before making any online purchase.
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?
Don’t have time to read the entire review? Here’s a quick overview:
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 scanners of 2020.
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:
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 2020?
1. Best Overall Choice: Epson WorkForce ES-500W Wireless Duplex Document Scanner
The Epson WorkForce ES-500W is an incredibly fast and convenient scanner. With speeds up to 35 pages a minute and a 50-page automatic feeder, it can breeze through documents of any size. Wirelessly send your scans to your PC, Mac, smartphone, or tablet, or to your cloud storage.
Smart software makes your documents searchable, and converts them into editable Word or Excel files. It’s the smartest, fastest way to convert paper documents into easily accessible, searchable, useful digital files, and our best overall choice in document scanners.
The Epson WorkForce ES-500W captures documents with incredible crispness and clarity at up to 1200 dpi, for easily readable text, or use Epson Image Processing Technology to automatically crop, remove backgrounds, and skip blank pages.
Automatic two-sided scanning and automatic file naming make scanning simple and easy, whether you are capturing business cards, ID documents, extra-long pages, or more. If you have a stack of documents, the feeder can hold up to 50 sheets, with a reliable Ultrasonic Double Feed Detection System that prevents missing pages, and Dynamic Skew Correction that aligns all your scans correctly.
Once scanned, you can create searchable PDFs, or editable Word and Excel files, and have them sent wirelessly to your Mac or PC, cloud storage, or digital device. The TWAIN driver is compatible with nearly all document management software, and you can easily share your scans via Dropbox, Evernote, Google Drive, or more. This scanner is also Energy Star qualified, RoHS compliant, and recyclable. It’s rated for up to 4,000 sheets a day, so it’s incredibly durable.
2. Runner-Up Option: Epson FastFoto FF-680W
The Epson FastFoto FF-680W is designed for scanning photos, with incredible ease, speed, image correcting, and sharing options. But it’s also a fast and easy document scanner, making it a great choice for people who need both features in a single machine.
The Epson FastFoto FF-680W can scan photos at a blazing fast speed up to 1 image per second. The feeder will hold up to 36 photos at once, and smart technology captures both sides of a photo or document at the same time, so you can also capture double-sided documents or any written notes on the backs of pictures.
Images can be enhanced with color restoration, red-eye reduction, and can be cropped, rotated, or de-skewed. Documents can be processed with Epson’s ScanSmart OCR to be both readable and searchable after scanning. Scanned documents or images can be easily sent to a computer or to cloud storage via USB or wireless connections.
Epson’s FastFoto software is also a great way to keep and organize your image files with intelligent tools and sharing options. With image capture resolutions up to 600 dpi and output resolutions up to 1200 dpi, your images will be preserved with clarity and quality.
And with document scanning speeds up to 45 pages per minute, and a 100 sheet feeder, you can also breeze through documents and store and share them as needed. The Epson FastFoto FF-680W is backed by a 1-year warranty.
3. Best Value for the Money: Canon TS9120 Wireless Printer with Scanner and Copier
The Canon TS9120 Wireless Printer with Scanner and Copier is a multi-purpose machine that not only scans, but also prints, with wireless convenience. It scans and prints images in high quality, scans documents and business cards and sends them to a computer or cloud storage and has everything a home office needs with a sleek style and compact footprint. It’s an incredibly versatile document scanner and all-in-one printer at an affordable price.
The Canon TS9120 Wireless Printer with Scanner and Copier has an easy to use, 5-inch LCD touchscreen, or simply scan and print wirelessly from your computer or smartphone. Never lose your scanned paper with automatic document removal reminder, and easily send files to any connected device or to your cloud storage.
This printer has front- and rear-paper feed capability, so you can conveniently use it in a wide range of configurations. Print stunning images with 6 ink colors, borderless printing, and even image processing and filtering software included, at resolutions up to 4800 x 1200 dpi.
You can even print onto your writeable CD or DVD discs, or use the SD card slot to process photos right from your memory card. Use the high speed USB connectivity, or use the printer’s Wi-Fi or Bluetooth capabilities for wireless convenience.
4. Best Scanner for a Small Business: Brother Wireless High-Speed Desktop Document Scanner, ADS-2700W
This wireless scanner can process single and double-sided documents at fast speeds of up to 35 pages per minute. It also has one-touch scanning to with preset file settings and destinations, which saves time for frequently-used settings. It’s a secure scanner with secure network protocols and secure access controls, and has network support and compatibility with a wide range of business processes and systems. The generous page capacity, fast speeds, presets, compatibility, and security features make this a fantastic scanner for a small business, and it’s backed by free support for the life of the product.
The Brother Wireless High-Speed Desktop Document Scanner, ADS-2700W has a small footprint but a large capacity. The feeder can hold up to 50 sheets at a time, and can scan documents at speeds up to 35 pages per minute.
Use the built-in wireless, fast ethernet, or USB to connect it to your devices. Set user profiles with destinations and device settings, and then use Auto Start to simply drop pages into the feeder to immediately begin scanning with the predefined profile. For added security, you can lock settings to prevent misuse.
Scan and send documents to email, ftp, a network destination, mobile devices, and more. It can scan documents as small as a business card, or as large as long, oversized documents. Enhance your scans with automatic color detection and adjustment, image rotation, background removal, text enhancement, and more. It uses secure network protocols and is compatible with a huge range of operating systems and drivers.
The included software helps you manage documents, business cards, and more. It’s rated for a daily duty cycle of up to 3000 pages, manages pages up to 8.5 x 14 inches, and has resolution up to 600 dpi. It is Energy Star certified, and Cerner Certified for use in health care settings.
5. Best Professional Scanner: Epson Perfection V850 Pro
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.
6. Best Mobile Scanner: Brother DS-620 Mobile Document Scanner
This tiny scanner measures just over 11 x 2 inches, and weighs less than a pound, in a slim and compact design that can go anywhere. It’s USB powered, so it doesn’t need an AC connection and can easily be used with a laptop. And it scans a fast 8 pages per minute, so it’s ideal for quick documents, business cards, receipts, invoices, or anything else you need to scan on the go. It’s so fast and easy to use, it’s the best mobile document scanner available.
The Brother DS-620 Mobile Document Scanner can handle documents as small as a business or ID card, or long documents up to 8.5 x 32 inches. It is compatible with Mac, Windows, and Linux computers. With resolutions up to 600 dpi, scans are crystal clear, and can be sent directly to included BR-Receipts receipt managing software that exports your expenses to Quicken or Quickbooks.
It is powered by USB, so it’s mobile-friendly and doesn’t need a power cord. It’s rated for up to 100 scans a day, has advanced ID scanning features, produces searchable documents, and is incredibly compact and lightweight.
7. Best Scanning App for Your Phone: CamScanner
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.
Like this post?
Don’t forget to share this best scanner post on Pinterest!