Scanner or multifunction printer?
Standalone scanners have largely been eclipsed by multifunction printers (MFPs) that combine a scanner, printer, copier and sometimes even a fax machine (see our related report on multifunction printers). Dedicated scanners are now niche machines, best when factors like capacity, media compatibility, speed, image quality, portability or a small desktop footprint are crucial. According to the reviews we read, most scanners on the market do a good job of transforming hard-copy original documents into electronic form. What separates the best from the rest are photo quality, ease of use, value for the money, features and bundled software applications.
There are a number of good sources of reviews and information about scanners. PCMag.com reviews dedicated scanners regularly, performs testing in a fair and competent way and identifies top models. Macworld features excellent reviews, but it covers fewer scanners. British sites IT Reviews and Computeractive magazine also produce good reports, and many of the scanners profiled are available in the U.S.
Photography websites and magazines such as Imaging-Resource.com and Shutterbug.com are good places to learn about scanners for photo professionals or hobbyists, but they cover relatively few models. The German site ScanDig provides in-depth reviews of photo and film scanners. User reviews at Amazon.com, B&H Photo's website and Newegg.com are useful for seeing how a scanner performs in the real world.
Some otherwise-prolific tech sites, such as CNET and PC World, have few reviews of scanners, but they occasionally add a new model. As such, these sites are mostly useful only as references for older models that are still on the market. Many scanner manufacturers release new models relatively infrequently.