Well, a scanner can scan just about anything. Why do we need a scanner buying guide?
In this technologically advanced world, there is plenty of anything to choose from. And it makes choosing something the most tedious task. The same story goes for scanners too. There are more than thousands of scanners to choose from. But each has its own specific purpose, pros, and cons.
This article will help you to choose the right scanner for your purpose, shed some light on the factors to consider when choosing one. I will try my best to make my points clear, without boring you with technical details and numbers.
The first question, obviously, would be what do you want to scan?
The main classification is documents and photos. But wait! Consider these too.
- Business cards
- Slides and Negatives
- Old documents or damage-prone originals like stamps
- 3D objects like coins flowers etc.
Types of Scanners
To scan photos, books, easily damaged objects and magazines, you will need flatbed scanners.
Slides and Negative Scanners
This type of scanners is basically flatbed scanners but has high resolution. You can check out our best picks of flatbed scanners for photos, slides or negatives
To scan documents on a regular basis, you will need a document scanner. Nowadays, most of the document scanners come with Automatic Document Feeder (ADF). You place the stack of sheets to scan in the tray, turn on the machine, and the sheet feeder will take care of rest.
Automatic sheet feeder can be used for high volume scanning on a regular basis.
Check our list of best document scanners
Portable or handheld scanners
Handheld scanners are becoming more and more popular every day. A handheld scanner accomplishes the same task as that of a flatbed scanner with the advantage of portability. For those who do not have desktop space available to dedicate to a flatbed scanner or those who want to scan documents and pictures on the go, portable scanners can be of great use.
However, do not expect the accuracy of a flatbed scanner for a portable one. The quality of the scanned image will depend on user’s steady hand and movement.
Or you can choose Multi-Function Printers over scanners because they can do a lot of home as well as office works for sure including printing, scanning, copying and faxing. The right balance between print quality, scan quality and ease of use must be taken into account while choosing one.
Wait. There is more..
How to choose the right scanner?
Scanners with the duplex feature can scan both sides at once. It is faster, less time consuming and energy efficient. But it costs more.
Another very important factor to consider. There is the optimum resolution for each purpose. For example, to scan documents 300 dpi is enough while for scanning photos, minimum 600 dpi is a must. Likewise, if you need to scan the details thoroughly, (eg: 35mm slides and negatives, easily damaged documents like stamps), you will need at least 3000 dpi resolution.
Color depth refers to the number of different colors that the scanner is capable of recognizing and saving i.e the amount of information per pixel. Therefore, greater the pixel higher the quality larger will be the image size. The most common specification is 16-bit, 24-bit, 32-bit, and 48-bit. For general purposes up to 32-bit is more than enough. For extreme graphics scanning, you may need 48-bit.
Scanning area size
Most scanners are labeled as letter size. But if you need to scan larger documents, consider legal size scanners.
There are 2 types of wired connections. USB and SCSI. USB is reliable and faster. Scanners these days come with WIFI connectivity. You can easily scan documents and pics even from smartphones. Look for Wi-Fi options when buying one.