The 8 Best Portable Scanners of 2020
Digitize your documents anywhere and everywhere
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More and more people are taking care of business while they’re on the go these days. They’re no longer chained to their desks or workspaces, so they need office equipment such as scanners that can travel with them. To help meet your needs we've rounded up the best portable scanners that can take care of business when you want to record transactions and images from somewhere other than your desk. Read on to shop for the best portable scanners today.
Best Overall: Epson WorkForce ES-300W
The WorkForce ES-300W is a bit bigger than the average portable scanner, but it still doesn’t take up a lot of space and there’s almost nothing it doesn’t do. Like any good scanner, it’s wireless and will sync with your computer, smartphone or tablet, but then it goes one better. It’s also compatible with the most popular cloud services, including Dropbox and Google Drive.
And it’s fast (on par with the average full-size scanner). It can auto-feed up to 20 pages at a time at a speed of 25 pages per minute, and it doesn’t slow down if you use a USB power source, a problem that sometimes occurs with other scanners. Epson offers a free software bundle, too, in addition to the ES-300W’s compatibility with most office software. This one should handle just about any job you assign to it.
Most Compact: Doxie Q
The Doxie Q weighs less than two pounds and isn’t quite a foot long. It’s slim and compact enough to drop onto the car seat beside you and take along wherever the road takes you. Doxie offers a couple of other models of portable scanners, but this one has everything and it is, in fact, Doxie’s primo offering. It includes built-in Wi-Fi and it has a pretty impressive 8GB memory.
The DX250 Doxie Q model will hold up to 7,200 images. It can access your smartphone and it has apps for both Mac and your PC to help you keep everything integrated. It’s wireless with a rechargeable battery.
Best Computer-Free Scanner: Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner
The Flip-Pal is truly portable, running on four AA batteries (no cords to drag around) and saving to either a USB key or an SD card. It doesn’t require a computer, so you won’t receive any of those annoying prompts telling you to hook up to your laptop sooner rather than later. But you won’t sacrifice anything in the way of features for all this mobility, and it can work with your computer if you want it to. It’s just also willing to fly solo if that’s what you need.
You don’t have to insert your delicate or important photos or documents through a mini-roller or feeder with the Flip-Pal. As compact as this scanner is, it still offers a flatbed screen where you can safely place anything you want to scan. You can see the resulting image immediately on the little LCD display — no waiting — and Flip-Pal will then conveniently and automatically store it on that USB or SD card. Best yet, it’s really affordable. Its only shortcoming is that you can’t edit the images in it, but you can always transfer them to another device where you can.
Best Two-in-One: Vupoint Solutions Magic Wand
This scanner does its job when it’s handheld or when you plug it into its auto-feed docking station — it’s your choice. Do you want to scan a book? Not a problem. Use it as a handheld device. It comes loaded with all necessary software and produces resolutions of up to 1,200 dpi. It can scan documents up to 10 ½ inches long. Consider it something of a workhorse to meet all your scanning needs or however you want to get the job done.
The Magic Wand is powered by a rechargeable lithium polymer battery and measures just 12.5 x 5.6 x 2.1 inches, the very definition of “portable.” It automatically powers off when you don’t use it for a while, so you don’t have to worry about running down the battery when you’re on the move. It also includes a small LCD screen for you to see your results on the spot, and it has a built-in 32 GB memory and Wi-Fi.
Best PDF: Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300i
The Fujitsu ScanSnap does everything you’d expect a portable scanner to do. It can digitize up to 12 black and white or color pages per minute — double-sided, no less. It has an auto-feeder and it senses each document’s size and color. Like the Epson WorkForce ES-300W, it has a working relationship with most popular cloud services. It can be powered by either an AC adapter or USB.
But where ScanSnap stands apart is its ability to directly convert the documents it scans into PDF format so you don’t have to do this as a separate step later on. The S1300i is markedly improved over previous versions with better, more streamlined features. It’s a little on the wide side, but given all that it does for you, that seems like a small price to pay.
Best for Mobile Businesses: Brother Wireless Portable ADS-1250W
Brother’s Wireless Portable Scanner is easy to use and carry when you’re conducting business on-the-go. You can easily scan documents with its 20-page capacity auto document feed. For business expenses, it takes in receipts that are up to 34 inches long. To get your files onto your computer, use the Micro USB 3.0 connection with a laptop or PC. You won’t need any software to scan — there’s mass storage support via scan to USB that allows you to retrieve files by opening the drive on a connected PC.
That said, the software comes with perks. It allows you to scan to specific destinations so that you can quickly organize business transactions and avoid the clutter altogether. If your business isn’t in a storefront or office, you can still take it with you wherever you go with relative ease, as it’s only the weight of a small laptop at just over three pounds and about the size of a thick ruler that’s less than 12 inches tall.
Best for Small Jobs: Epson WorkForce DS-30 Portable Document and Image Scanner
Epson offers a few scanner models, including this WorkForce DS-30. It doesn’t have the range of capabilities that the ES-300W offers, but it’s great for small jobs if your scanning needs are limited to things such as credit cards or business cards and if you don’t need a double-sided scanner. Why tote around something bigger if this is does the job for you?
It still takes care of business quite nicely, reading fonts accurately and allowing you to convert original files of anything you scan into editable versions. It’s compatible with both Windows and Mac, and its price tag won’t break the bank. What’s more, it comes with some nifty extras, like a carrying bag and a USB cable if you don’t already have one on hand. Just install the software on your laptop — a document management suite is included — and you’re on your way. And yes, the DS-30 also lets you scan to the cloud.
Best Handheld: Aibecy Portable Handheld Document Scanner
This portable document wand fits in the palm of your hand, and it’s an affordable pick that costs around $50. The scanner is easy to carry, measuring just over 12 inches and weighing less than a pound. It's capable of scanning documents as large as A4 in size. As for other specs, it allows for up to a 900-dpi resolution and supports memory cards up to 32G. You can also directly plug it in without installing a driver.
Using the portable scanner is relatively intuitive. The light on the device turns green when it’s scanning and turns red when it’s scanning too quickly in order to help you avoid image distortion. When you’re not using it, it automatically turns off in three minutes, saving you power.