The 8 Best Document Scanners of 2020

Digitize your files is easier than ever

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Document scanners are the modern-day answer to filing cabinets. Where once important papers were jammed into folders then crammed into drawers, now they can be digitized so you don’t even have to stand up from your desk to access them.

Of course, this requires that you have the right equipment, and the right equipment for you can depend on exactly what you want to put in your digital filing cabinet. Photos? Receipts? A multi-page sales report? Where do you want to store the images? Do you want to be able to edit them later? All these factors are critical to selecting the right one for your needs. To help, we've rounded up the best document scanners on today's market.

Best Desktop: Fujitsu ScanSnap iX1500 Color Duplex Desk Scanner

Fujitsu ScanSnap iX1500 Color Duplex Desk Scanner
 Courtesy of Amazon

The ScanSnap iX1500 is easy to set up and it’s not prohibitively expensive. Not to be confused with Fujitsu’s ScanSnap S1300i — that one’s portable — the iX1500 is intended to park in one place and handle pretty much anything you need. It’s capable of scanning at 30 pages per minute and will stand up to as many as 2,000 uses a day. The feed tray is adjustable to handle documents of various sizes, and quality detection and correction is automatic.

Auto sheet-fed, it can handle duplex scanning, and it’s wireless, connecting to Mac or Windows computers via a Wi-Fi 80.211 b/g/n or USB 3.0 interface. It will even work on your iOS or Android tablet or smartphone. It also scans to several cloud services. The iX1500 comes with its own software that’s very popular with users. You can easily manage images when the scanning is done in searchable PDF files.

Best Flatbed: Epson Perfection V550

With the Perfection V550, Epson continues to distinguish itself as a leader in the scanner game, delivering a device that blends performance with the versatility required to meet nearly all of your scanning needs. With its energy-efficient ReadyScan LED technology, no warm-up time is needed to start scanning your files, photos, films, and other documents. Multiple photos can be scanned at once, with auto edge detection cropping each one and saving them as individual files, and ABBYY FineReader Sprint Plus OCR will transform your digital copies into editable text. Expect sharp, dynamic images thanks to 6400 dpi resolution for enlargements up to 17 x 22 inches and 48-bit color depth.

If your copies need a little bit of attention, the digital ICE technology will erase any scratches or dust on film and color can be restored to faded photographs with just the click of a button. Once scanned, your digital images and files can then be uploaded to your cloud service of choice, along with social media sites like Facebook. 

Best Photo: Epson Perfection V370 Photo

The Epson Perfection V370 Photo pairs quality with efficiency, helping digitize prints whether you’re the unofficial family historian, a casual photographer, or a serious artist. The unit lets you scan everything from photos to film and you can easily access them from your mobile devices once uploaded. The 4800 x 9600 dpi optical resolution promises crisp, clear images of all of your photos and documents, with enlargements up to 13 x 19 inches. Oversized originals? ArcSoft Scan-n-Stitch Deluxe technology has your back, and the scanner can restore color to faded images. 35-millimeter film or slides? The built-in transparency unit makes it easy to scan. The high-rise lid, opening up 180 degrees, also makes it easy to capture books, photo albums, or 3D projects. Document Capture Software allows all of your scans to be sent directly to Google Docs, Evernote, and other cloud services. ReadyScan LED Technology makes the process fast and eliminates warm-up time. 

Best for Medium-Sized Offices: Brother ImageCenter ADS-2800W

OK, it’s big and it might be a tight fit in smaller office spaces, but if you have extensive scanning needs and enough room for it, the ImageCenter ADS-2800W from Brother is an award winner. It’s heavy duty and suitable for a larger workforce’s needs.

The ADS-2800W features extensive ports and options for connectivity, from Wi-Fi to a Gigabit Ethernet network connectivity standard. It’s fast — it can handle up to 30 pages a minute at a resolution of 300 dpi — and it’s a duplexing scanner with two separate elements, so it can scan easily two-sided documents. The automatic document feeder can hold up to 50 pages, and if one of the pages happens to be blank, that’s not a problem. The ADS-2800W will automatically skip it. It scans in both color and black and white, so it’s suitable for everything from photos to multi-page documents. It’s wireless and lets you scan directly to cloud applications. The Touchscreen color display measures 3.7 inches. And you get free technical support for as long as you own it.

Most Compact: Kodak Scanmate i1150

Small, sleek, and fast, the Kodak Scanmate i1150 supports the needs of businesses ranging from medical offices to banks to insurance agencies so they can focus on the needs of their clients. Able to scan everything from documents to IDs, the device can also turn them into PDFs, send them to cloud services, or attach them to emails to help facilitate day-to-day operations. However, keep in mind that there is no export support for mobile devices.

To speed up business operations, a special transaction mode will scan the first 10 pages of a document 60 percent faster, since most documents won’t surpass that page limit. After that, documents will be scanned at a still rapid rate of 30 pages per minute. Documents — which the device will clean up by straightening pages or removing blank ones — can be converted into PDFs, TIFFs, JPEGs, RPFs, and BMPs. Dealing with financial information or barcodes? The scanner can be set to notice certain types of data in order to export them to a program of your choice. 

Best Mobile: Brother DS-620

Brother offers several scanner models. The DS-620 is handheld and it powers up via a USB port, so no outlet required. It’s not a duplexing scanner, but that shouldn’t be a problem if you don’t have to scan a lot of two-sided documents. It’s less than a foot long and it’s thin, so it will fit easily into most briefcases and bags if you find that you sometimes need a scanner when you’re in transit.

The DS-620 scans to cloud services, as well as to all traditional land-locked file systems, including searchable PDF. It’s compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux.

Best Multipurpose: Canon CanoScan LiDE220 Color Image Scanner

The CanoScan LiDE220 is notable for the way it organizes and searches scanned PDF document files, but it can scan photos, too, both at 4,800 dpi resolution. Editing features include dust removal and color correction. And it's capable of saving to some cloud services.

The LiDE220 has an auto-scan mode that will automatically adjust features based on what you’re asking it to do. The top expands to accommodate larger, more awkward items that you might not think would be capable of scanning. But best of all, it’s surprisingly inexpensive.

Best for Books: CZUR ET16 Plus

Yes, you can scan documents on CZUR’s ET16 Plus, but you can also scan just about anything else imaginable because of its overhead design and its one-of-a-kind side lighting. It’s ideal for scanning books with an automatic flattener and “finger removal” feature — if you use your hand to hold the book down on the scanning bed, any glimpse of your fingers will be cropped out of the final image. The flattener isn’t a physical feature but rather a processing component that actually views the book as though it’s laid perfectly flat.

The ET16 Plus can scan both pages of an opened book at once and it can do it in about 1.5 seconds. It recognizes 187 languages and will convert all of them to English or any other language you prefer. Scanned images also convert into editable documents such as Word or PDF.