A document scanner is an essential device for any office or workplace. It reduces the need for countless sheets of physical paper, allowing you to send things like invoices, receipts and contracts via email. Of course before you attach them to an email, you’ll need to scan printed documents and convert them into a digital format.
A document scanner is also especially useful at home, since communication via email and other online platforms is so common these days. Not only does a scanner help to digitize important documents, but it also allows us to preserve precious memories in a secure, digital format. Whether by way of a backup device or cloud-based storage, photographs and other keepsakes can be preserved and saved from being lost or destroyed.
- 1 Key Facts
- 2 Ranking: The Best Document Scanners on the US Market
- 3 Shopping Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Document Scanners
- 3.1 What Is a Document Scanner?
- 3.2 How Does a Document Scanner Work?
- 3.3 What Makes a Document Scanner Useful?
- 3.4 How Much Will a Document Scanner Cost Me?
- 3.5 Why Is It Important to Digitize Documents With a Scanner?
- 3.6 Are All Document Scanners the Same?
- 3.7 Into Which Formats Can Documents Be Digitized?
- 3.8 Which Operating System Is Necessary for Scanning?
- 3.9 How Does OCR Work in a Document Scanner?
- 4 Shopping Criteria
- 5 Summary
- A document scanner is an electronic device that digitizes physical paper documents and sends them to a computer, tablet or smartphone.
- Documents that have been scanned and digitized can be easily stored on your favorite devices or with an online cloud service. You can also reprint your documents for storage in physical form.
- A document scanner can be hooked up to a computer using a cable (such as USB) or with wireless technology like WiFi or Bluetooth.
- The format of digitized documents varies depending on its purpose but can include: .pdf, .jpg, .jpeg, .png and more.
Ranking: The Best Document Scanners on the US Market
In this next section we have gathered the very best document scanners available on the American market. This list should help you compare the features and specifications of each model. If you’re considering buying a document scanner, you’ll find this guide very useful in selecting the perfect model for your individual needs.
No. 1: Fujitsu ScanSnap iX1500
Get organized with this best selling printer from Japanese tech company Fujitsu. Scanning all of your old and new documents will be a breeze using its large, easy-to-use touchscreen and built-in software that can help you sort your scans into searchable folders with relevant keywords. And don’t worry about annoying cables—this scanner will wirelessly connect to your computer, so you can scan directly to your desktop or preferred cloud service.
The iX1500 is certainly not the cheapest option, but it makes up for the price in quality. This scanner features double-sided scanning, advanced paper feeding and a scanning speed of up to 30 pages per minute. It also has an optical resolution of up to 600 dpi.
No. 2: Epson WorkForce ES-400
Another big name in Japanese tech is Epson, and their WorkForce ES-400 is a great mid-range scanner that will meet all of your needs. Scan up to 35 pages per minute and use the scanner’s Single Step Technology to capture both sides in one go. You can even stack up to 50 pages into the Auto Document Feeder and watch with delight as your documents get scanned one after another.
Use the powerful built-in Nuance Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software to create searchable PDFs and editable Word or Excel files. This scanner can also automatically crop documents, remove blank pages and unwanted backgrounds using Epson Image Processing Technology. It’s perfect for any home or office.
No. 3: Epson WorkForce Es-50
If you liked the sound of that Epson WorkForce scanner, but the price was a bit too steep, then check out this portable model from the same company. It’s not just affordable, but also a sleek, fast option for anyone looking to scan on the go. In fact, it’s the lightest and fastest single sheet fed document scanner in its class!
With this compact scanner, you’ll be able to scan one page in as fast as 5.5 seconds. Don’t worry about a charger—this scanner connects to your computer via USB. No batteries or other external power supply required. As far as size goes, the Es-50 can handle receipts, ID cards and documents up to 8.5″ x 72″.
No. 4: Brother DS-620
Here’s another portable option that won’t drain your bank account. The Brother DS-620 is extremely lightweight—under 1 pound—so you can easily slip it into a backpack or briefcase. It scans up to 8 pages per minute with a maximum resolution of 1200 dpi.
Like the Epson model, the DS-620 is charged via USB cable. It comes with a carrier sheet for scanning small, fragile or oddly shaped items, and can handle documents up to 8.5″ x 32″. Finally, use the built-in suite of scanning software to help you manage and share information without a hitch.
No. 5: Fujitsu fi-7160 Workgroup Series
To finish off the ranking, we’ve got another powerful scanner from Fujitsu. This durable option is the most expensive on our list, but it makes a great choice for any office or professional work environment. It can scan up to 120 images per minute at 300 dpi in color or black and white. It also boasts a large capacity 80-sheet automatic document feeder.
Other features include cutting edge image processing software, Ultrasonic Double Feed Detection and even acoustic sensors that will stop the machine if a misfeed is sensed! You can’t go wrong with this impressive scanner.
Shopping Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Document Scanners
Before you go out and buy a product like a document scanner, you should learn about the different features available. It’s a good idea to begin with the more common functions that are found in all scanners, before moving onto the more unique features found in each model on the market. In this guide we’ll go over all you need to know, so that you can pick the document scanner that is best for you.
What Is a Document Scanner?
A document scanner is, basically, a device that accompanies your computer, table or phone and uses light to copy physical images or documents. The scanner copies your documents into a digital format, and you can pick color or black and white. A scanner digitizes photographs and documents that are in a paper format, transferring them into an electronic file.
How Does a Document Scanner Work?
A document scanner functions with a series of CCD devices that capture reflected light using mirrors. These signals are subsequently transferred into a digital format by an analog-to-digital converter (ADC). Lastly, the computer (or a similar device) receives a transmission of the digital version of the image or document scanned.
What Makes a Document Scanner Useful?
A document scanner allows for analog documents to be converted into a more modern, digital format. Once they have been converted into a digital form, documents can be altered, stored and, of course, printed again. The use of a document scanner can be very helpful both at home and at work. That’s why there are models specifically designed for use in offices, and others that are more appropriate for use at home. There are scanners with multiple functions available on the market, if you’re looking for a device that does more than just scan documents. However, these all-in-one devices come with some disadvantages. The primary con is their large size. That’s why we’re going to review some of the pros and cons of having your own an all-in-one document scanner or printer.
How Much Will a Document Scanner Cost Me?
Every purchase you make requires you to consider quality, performance and reliability on one hand and price on the other. For the price to be justified, you need to be certain that you’re going to use the machine regularly enough and that it provides the features you need to improve your day-to-day life and workflow.
As we saw with the five models that were featured in the ranking above, there is a large difference in price between the various kinds of document scanners available. The price can range from under $100 for the more basic models to over $600 for the most advanced or multifunctional scanners.
Why Is It Important to Digitize Documents With a Scanner?
Digitizing documents with a scanner is an indispensable tool for today’s digital age. This is especially true for businesses that process a large amount of documents on a daily basis. Digitization processes are an important part of the day to day workflow at both SMEs and large companies.
Furthermore, digitization and storage of documents in an electronic format is an environmentally friendly process, because it can greatly reduce the use of paper. Everything about digitizing is great! Don’t you agree?
Are All Document Scanners the Same?
Each scanner model offers different functions, although every scanner can perform the most basic functions that characterizes them. In addition to being able to scan and digitize, they allow for the editing or restoring of damaged documents. This is very useful when digitizing old photographs or poorly kept documents.
Into Which Formats Can Documents Be Digitized?
Generally, there are two basic formats that are commonly used for the digitization of documents. Most document scanners will give you the choice of saving files in either TIFF or PDF format. A PDF is a bitmap that gives you the option to share files using free software from Adobe that can open this type of document. PDFs are ideal for sending a scanned document or image without altering its contents—and if you don’t want the receiver to be able to alter them either.
On the other hand, TIFF files can be manipulated and changed at any time using the necessary editing software. TIFF is an older format than PDF and therefore presents some problems, such as size. TIFFs take up much more storage space, making them less convenient and user friendly. The important differences between these two formats are illustrated in the table below:
|Criterion||Format .pdf||Format .tiff|
|Space||Less space||More space|
|Use||Ideal for single documents||Ideal for groups of documents|
|Compatibility||Compatibility guaranteed||Compatibility more limited|
Which Operating System Is Necessary for Scanning?
In general, almost all document scanners are compatible with both Mac and Windows these days. Still, prior to purchasing a scanner, it’s important to double check that it will work with your computer. Obviously, a scanner that won’t function with your computer won’t be of much use. It is especially important to check compatibility if you’re purchasing an older secondhand scanner. Be sure it will work with your current operating system.
Technology is in a constant state of evolution. That can mean lots of advantages for users, but at the same time it can be very inconvenient. So we need to be careful not to purchase obsolete models that won’t last very long. Any good investment should be profitable in the long term.
How Does OCR Work in a Document Scanner?
Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is a process that allows text to be digitized by a scanner. OCR allows the device to recognize characters as part of a standard alphabet. Using this process, we can modify the scanned document with a text editor.
For example, if you scan a book or a newspaper article, you can then edit it using Microsoft Word. So this feature is very useful for people who scan these kinds of documents on a daily basis. Not every scanner model is manufactured with integrated OCR, so be sure to look for one that offers this feature if it’s something you think might be helpful.
In order to avoid getting an outdated document scanner that won’t provide you with the functions you need, it’s important to learn about the most important features of these devices. As with any product, it’s important to identify the most relevant features offered by each model. We’re now going to review some of the things you should consider prior to buying a document scanner.
- Scanning speed
As you may have noticed in the ranking of the best document scanners, there are a number of different models with distinct functions and features. If you only need to scan documents and photos, you’ll probably be fine with a model that only performs that function. However, if you’re looking for more features in a single device, you should look at all-in-one scanners that can also print and fax documents.
So you’ll need to decide how you intend to use your document scanner. The price will vary depending on the device’s functions, and whether it’s a more basic model or a complex all-in-one scanner. Of course it’s better not to spend the money on a multifunction machine if you’re not going to use the extra features it provides.
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These days, scanners have become more and more compact. But perhaps you need a machine that can handle large documents. In this case, not just any scanner will be suitable, since most scanners can only handle documents up to A4 size. When comparing scanners, be sure to keep this in mind, and be aware that it will impact the amount of space the scanner will need in your home or office.
If you don’t need to scan anything larger than A4 size, you’ll find many options, and you can choose one of the smaller models that we featured. Even just a few inches can free up critical space in our home or work environments.
Just like with a camera, a mobile phone screen or a TV, the resolution and color range of a scanner will impact the quality of the final image produced. If you are only planning to scan black and white documents (such as invoices, contracts, notes, etc.), then the resolution may not be so important. But if you’re hoping to do detailed and colorful scans, it is very important to take note of the scanner’s resolution.
To determine whether a scanner has high quality resolution, you should check the dpi (dots per inch) value. The higher the dpi value, the higher the resolution and, in turn, the visual quality of the digital file when scanning is complete.
The minimum recommended resolution for photographs is 300 dpi, while 100 dpi should be sufficient for scanning simple back and white documents. A lower resolution will result in a smaller file size, which can save you storage space.
The speed of a document scanner is usually measured in pages per minute. If you need to scan a high volume of documents on a regular basis, you should definitely take this feature seriously. A slower scanner, or one that does not allow automatic double-sided scanning, can cause significant delays when you’re trying to get through a big stack of documents.
A speed of 20-25 pages per minute is considered high, while 15-20 is considered average. Scanners that offer less than 15 pages per minute are probably cheaper, but they won’t be of much use if you’ve got a lot to scan in a short amount of time.
What good is a document scanner that can’t transfer the scanned files to a computer? Before picking a particular model, it’s crucial that you ensure the scanner is compatible with your computer. Many recent models are designed to work with the latest versions of both Windows and Mac OS, but an older model may pose issues.
The more options for connecting your scanner, the better. A USB connection is usually required, and it should be 2.0 to guarantee the fastest transfer speed. If the scanner has wireless connectivity, it may utilize Bluetooth, WiFi or both. In both cases, you should check how quickly the data is sent and received to find the best option.
There is a document scanner out there for every type of user, depending on their specific needs, preferences and budget. Be sure to follow our advice and compare models prior to taking the plunge and purchasing one. These days, the rapid advances in technology mean you can find a model with lots of features and at a more affordable price than you could just a few years ago.
It’s always a good idea to have a look at special offers or sales at any given time, to find the best possible scanner and price. Sometimes, spending a little more time doing research can save you a good chunk of money in the end. But if you already know which document scanner you like, then go and get it!
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(Source of the featured image: Loganban: 38387768/ 123rf.com)