A scanner is a scanner—right? Not exactly. Sure, the better the model, the better the results, but even at that, the priciest scanner on the market may not be what you need. All scanners do the same things, using mirrors, glass, light, and other technological components to capture documents and photographs. But the performance of each machine will vary. Some scanners are better with different materials. Some operate independently, while others need you to insert and remove each item. Some scan quickly, while others take time. Some might create lower-resolution scans than others.
So, what is right for you? That will depend on your individual needs. Below are the three basic categories of scanners and who they are best suited to.
This type of scanner is what we tend to think about when talking about scanners. It features a large, flat bed where you place the items being scanned; you close the lid and hit scan. These scanners tend to be easy to use, though they do require you to be constantly monitoring their progress. They are also the most affordable scanners on the market.
Who should buy a flatbed scanner? Anyone who will be using their scanner for photographs or only needs it for occasional use.
A sheet-fed scanner does the work for you. You pile up the documents in the tray and the scanner pulls them in, scans them, then sends them out before moving on to the next document in the tray. It operates in a way that is similar to a copy machine. With this type of scanner, you can handle a massive amount of documents in just a few hours.
Who should buy a sheet-fed scanner? Anyone who needs to scan large piles of documents with any regularity or who desires a paperless office.
Most people only need to scan in their office, but there are those who need to scan on the go. In these cases, a portable, hand-held scanner may be needed. With this tool, you can scan no matter where you are. This is great for tracking business expenses if you need to travel a lot.
Who should buy a portable scanner? Anyone who travels a lot for business and cannot wait to get home to scan.
So, which one fits you best? Tell us in the comments and see if other readers might have some recommendations for you.