You know when you go to the grocery store, and there’s a million different pasta sauces? Different brands, different ingredients, organic or not, you get the picture. It’s exhausting. I just want some red sauce to put on my spaghetti. We’ve all been there. Shopping for scanners is basically the same, except you don’t get a delicious meal at the end of it.
I’m breaking down some of the best flatbed scanners out there based on price points in hopes that you can forego the endless research and headaches associated with buying electronics. Don’t worry, I’ll scale ’em for you by prices from $–$$$$$.
$: For a low price, just $60, the Canon CanoScan LiDE 210 still packs a punch. If you won’t be doing too much heavy-duty document scanning then this could be a great option for you. They have great image quality and a sleek design, are lightweight and easily stored, and can scan any of your basic needs. The negatives? Well, some reviews say its software can be finicky and not always as intuitive as some might like. Additionally, its OCR is said to not be up to par. To be fair, it’s only $65 for a fully functional scanner. As they say, beggars can’t be choosers.
$$: Moving on up, the Epson Perfection V370 could be perfect for your home or office if you’ve got a little more cash to spend. At just $119.99, this flatbed scanner is still incredibly affordable. It’s great because it can scan a full-sized sheet of paper as well as photos and film. It also is incredibly easy to scan to cloud services (Google Docs, Evernote, etc.). Some drawbacks: the scanner has had some issues with software compatibility. Some say that it doesn’t work with Macs, others say it’s Windows 7 that’s the problem. It could just be that reviewers aren’t tech-savvy and couldn’t figure out the set-up process, but be aware that your computer might have some issues with set-up and getting started with this scanner.
$$$: In the middle of the road, we have the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300i. It comes in at $249.99. It features an automatic feeder, OCR capabilities that can convert to editable Word, Excel, and PDF documents, and the ability to scan 12 double-sided pages per minute. It’s very lightweight at just 3 pounds and is compatible with both Mac and PCs. What more could you want?! I’ll tell you. Some shortcomings: There is no TWAIN, WIA, or ISIS support, which means that the scanner isn’t able to work with any 3rd party application interface. This can be tricky for office use. If you don’t need those things, though, this scanner otherwise comes very highly recommended.
$$$$: Beginning the higher-end scanners we’re going with the Visioneer OneTouch 9520. It goes for about $349, give or take. The OneTouch has amazing image quality, and can scan more than 281 trillion colors. Yes, that’s with a “tr-“. Its scan density is insane, making it possible to scan film and film negatives without any degradation in quality. It also supports optical character recognition (OCR) so, like the ScanSnap, it can create editable documents from your scans. It also is a great option for anyone doing 3D scans. Any downfalls? Although it is compatible with Mac and Windows, there have been reports of it not being very “user-friendly.” It also is said to have a short lamp life, but you can always buy another lamp and replace it.
$$$$$: The granddaddy of them all. Okay, we may have made a little bit of jump. At $1,099.99 we have the luxe HP Scanjet N6350. This is the scanner you think of when you envision an office scanner. It’s big, has an automatic document feeder (that holds a whopping 50 sheets), and is mostly used for plain old paper. What makes this (possibly) worth your wild is that it’s consistent. HP is a trusted name in scanners and printers, and their customer service is top-notch. If something goes wrong, you will most likely be helped. It gives great image quality, is compatible with Macs and PCs, scans quickly and efficiently, and is dependable. What’s not to love? Well, it is somewhat bulky, which means you’ll need to have enough space to actually store it. Its product description says it’s primarily for your paper scanning needs, but you can absolutely use it for more than that.
Have another scanner that you love and are dying to tell us about? Leave a comment, we’d love to hear from you! Happy scanner hunting!