What every best Scanners has:
- High scanning and processing speed.
- Accurate OCR.
- Jam-free operation.
PCMag is the most prolific and consistent reviewer of scanners. Product roundup articles are thorough, informative and frequently updated. Scanners are rated on a 5-point scale, and the best earn editors' choice nods. Most models receive a detailed single-page report based on thorough, hands-on testing for both hardware and software. Reviewers scan documents, business cards, photos, slides, and film, test each scanner's OCR capability, and also evaluate speed and ease of use.
For this review, Lizz Schumer consulted professional and user reviews to identify the 20 most recommended scanners. She then selected the four with the strongest reviews and subjected them to 18 hours of hands-on testing to evaluate speed, image quality, and ease of use. Each machine scanned a variety of documents, including text and images, film, print, and a finger painting by a 1-year-old (with stickers).
While this review focuses on portable document scanners, it also has some useful info about smaller document and photo scanners that are suitable for the office as well as the road. Amadou. Diallo, an experienced technology writer and reviewer, spends more than 70 hours researching document printers and testing his three top picks for text accuracy, speed, and ease of use. He runs each model through dozens of documents of all types and sizes before naming a winner.
Amazon carries thousands of scanners, including sheet-fed, flatbeds, film scanners, and business card scanners. The best-rated scanners here receive hundreds of reviews, or even thousands, with overall scores of at least 4.5 stars out of 5. Owner feedback here is particularly useful for gauging a model's long-term durability and reliability.
B&H Photo is another good source for user reviews. More than 100 flatbed and document scanners are sold here, and it's easy to sort the listings to see which scanners have the most comments. We found several models with ratings of at least 4.5 stars from 200 owners or more. Unfortunately, there is no way to sort the reviews to see the most helpful ones first.
More than 100 scanners are sold through Office Depot's website, but only a dozen or so have more than a handful of reviews. We found the best ratings for Epson and Fujitsu scanners, with several models receiving ratings of 4.3 stars or better from hundreds of owners. Individual reviews are fairly brief.
Staples offers about 300 scanner models for sale on its website, but only a few scanners earn both a large volume of feedback and a high overall rating. We found four scanners – all from Epson – with ratings of at least 4.5 stars from 100 owners or more. As at Office Depot, individual reviews tend to be quite short, and many of them are picked up from manufacturer sites.
Imaging Resource is one of the best online sources for camera reviews, but it hasn't published any scanner reviews since 2009, and only one covered model is still current. That's a pity, as its reviews are among the most detailed and complete we found. Each one covers the scanner's specifications, what's in the box, the setup process, and several "case studies" showing how the scanner handles different photos and documents.
Reviewer Ted Landau pits the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 against the now-discontinued Neat NeatDesk for Mac for the title of best document scanner. Specs are similar – both scanners can scan up to 600 dpi resolution, with similar features and speed – but Landau names the iX500 as the winner based on hardware, software and features. The iX500 earns a strong recommendation for a desktop scanner, with 4.5 "mice" out of 5.
Desire Athow of TechRadar names her five favorite scanners for different uses: portability, documents, photos, networking, and general small business use. Each machine gets a couple of paragraphs summing up its most useful features, as well as its weak points. However, it's not clear that Athow has actually done any hands-on testing. Tech Radar is a British site, so the scanners covered here aren't all available in the USA.