Whether you have a home office and you’re looking to reduce the piles of paperwork littering your desk or you have a plastic tub of slowly deteriorating old photos sitting on the top shelf of your bedroom closet, a high-quality scanner can help reduce the overwhelming clutter in your life. But not all models can accomplish the same tasks.
To find the best scanner for you, you must first decide what your needs are. If you need to scan a high volume of documents, for instance, you may benefit the most from our top pick, the Epson WorkForce ES-500W, which is a wireless, color, duplex scanner that can scan up to 35 pages per minute.
Keep reading our buying guide to learn more about this model and the type of features you can expect to find in other top-quality scanners.
Features: While high resolution should be at the top of your list for features, most scanners have more than adequate resolution for common home office needs. Three other features you might want to look into, however, are wireless capabilities, duplexing, and OCR.
Wireless capabilities: There’s nothing wrong with a scanner that connects to a computer via a USB cord. However, if you want to skip a few steps and send your scan directly to a device or be able to scan to multiple computers, you’re going to want a WiFi-enabled model.
Duplexing: If you have a lot of documents that need to be scanned on both sides, you are going to want a duplex scanner. This can cut the time it takes to complete your task in half, depending on the job. If you do not need it, however, purchasing a model without duplex scanning can save you money.
OCR: OCR stands for optical character recognition. If your scanner is equipped with OCR software, you can scan a page as an editable text file. By comparison, if you do not have this feature, a scanner simply captures an image. Like duplexing, not everyone needs this feature, but if you do, it is invaluable.
Price: For $50 to $100, you can find budget model scanners that may be either handheld or flatbed models. The bottom price for a sheet-fed scanner is around $150. For the average home office, you should be able to find a quality scanner in the $150 to $250 range. Once you move into $300 and above, you’ll be looking at a heavy-duty scanner that is capable of handling a higher workload.
Brother ADS-2200 High-Speed Desktop Document Scanner
Our take: A customizable, high-speed, one-touch scanner with a space-saving design that is ideal for a home office.
What we like: This compact workhorse has a 3,000-pages-a-day duty cycle for high-volume jobs. The automatic size detection feature allows a user to load and scan a wide variety of documents without pausing to reconfigure the settings for each document.
What we dislike: While most users thought this model offered remarkable performance, some felt that the speed on the higher resolution settings was a little slow.
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Epson Perfection V39 Color Photo and Document Scanner
Our take: A value-packed scanner that is capable of executing tasks that even some higher-priced models can’t accomplish.
What we like: This highly adaptable scanner has a kickstand that allows you to position the unit vertically to save space. It scans at an impressive 4,800 dpi optical resolution and has a removable lid, so you can more easily work with books and oversized images and documents.
What we dislike: This scanner doesn’t scan all the way to the edge, which, depending on your needs, might be a problem.
Epson WorkForce ES-500W Wireless Color Duplex Document Scanner
Our take: A versatile wireless scanner that is compatible with Mac, PC, and a wide variety of mobile devices.
What we like: The duplex scanning allows you to capture both sides of a page in a single pass. Scans can be directly sent to popular storage services such as Dropbox, Evernote, and Google Drive.
What we dislike: When setting up the WiFi, be sure to follow the directions closely to avoid frustration.
Allen Foster is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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