If you only have lots of loose pages to scan, and don't need to scan film, photo prints, slides, books, magazines, or other medial, consider a sheet-fed document scanner. Document scanners are designed to process large batches of unbound paper, and to do so quickly. Many come bundled with optical character recognition (OCR) software, which turns the electronic image into searchable text in a document.
Most document scanners come equipped with an automatic document feeder (ADF), which will automatically load page after page in a stack. Many ADFs on sheet-fed scanners support duplexing, scanning one side of the page and then scanning onto the backside. More expensive are document scanners with two scanning components, which will scan both sides simultaneously. Workhorse document scanners can cost into the thousands of dollars, though we found some less-expensive models that are very suitable for small to mid-size business use.
Experts rave over the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 (Est. $420) . While it has a higher price tag than its closest competitors, this sheet-fed scanner is nonetheless an excellent value, producing highly detailed scans of text documents at fast speeds. Experts say turning countless pages into searchable computer files is quick and painless. Included is a top-quality ADF, which can hold up to 50 sheets, plus automatic duplexing as well as a USB 3.0 port for speedy connection speeds. A copy of Adobe Acrobat Standard is included, though it's only compatible with Windows computers.
The feature set is deep. You can scan documents directly to your Android or iOS devices via the scanner's built-in Wi-Fi. A recent update also lets you connect wirelessly to a single computer at a time without needing to be tethered to it via a hardwired connection. Some reviewers grouse over the lack of TWAIN and ISIS driver support -- if you'll be using a third-party application, make sure it's compatible with the scanner's proprietary drivers. Build quality is solid overall, and we didn't spot any consistent complaints regarding long-term reliability. A handful of Amazon.com users say the scanner was defective out of the box, but there is a one-year manufacturer warranty, which, judging from feedback, doesn't seem to be too much of a hassle to invoke.
For those with more modest budgets, the Epson WorkForce Pro GT-S50 (Est. $290) is a solid alternative, earning high marks from reviewers. Like the ScanSnap iX500, scan quality is impressive. There's automatic duplexing (both sides simultaneously) and scans come out quickly. This scanner sports a larger sheet capacity as well – 75 sheets – as well TWAIN and ISIS driver support, so you shouldn't have any incompatibility problems with most third-party scan applications. However, the included software isn't very impressive, PCMag.com reports. There's also no wireless connectivity, so the WorkForce Pro GT-S50 doesn't offer any of the mobile scanning features of the ScanSnap iX500. Some reviewers say its footprint is bit larger than other sheet-fed scanners.