Best Photo Scanner

The best photo scanner is one that is easy for you to use, tailored to conform to your needs, and works well with your lifestyle. You may want a scanner that sits on your desk at home next to your computer, or you may want to pull out a scanner to use on the sofa while watching TV.

Or you may need a scanner that slips easily into a computer or backpack, one that saves to external storage, or one that uploads wirelessly via WiFi. Depending on the qualities you are looking for in a scanner, there is a perfect photo scanner that will help you tackle your photo scanning project.

Every photo scanner has different features that will handle tasks in varied ways. Many people want simplified scanners that automatically edit and upload, while others want to have more control of each scanning option. You can make your scanner work for you if you consider all this while choosing a photo scanner.

Whether you need a small, fast scanner to take with you during your travels, or a high-resolution scanner to capture every nuance of hundred year old family photos, the following comparison of five of the best photo scanners on the market will help you choose the right one for you.

What To Look For When Buying A Photo Scanner

When choosing a photo scanner, make sure to take into consideration the type of scanning you will be doing. If you are scanning standard-size photos and have a lot of scanning to do, you may want to look into auto feed scanners.

Auto feed scanners are the fastest scanners available. If your photos are delicate or very large, a flatbed scanner will be a better option. Flatbed scanners aren’t slow either, depending on the resolution at which you scan.

Many users will want to scan at their desks near their computers, but others may want to scan in other situations. For them, a portable travel scanner is ideal. A full-sized scanner isn’t always large, however, and some can be used and stored upright, limiting their footprint at your workspace.

What happens after you scan your photos can also influence your choice of scanners. Some scanners have built-in editing that will deskew and crop your pictures. Others have excellent software bundles to edit and organize your scans.

Depending on the scanner you choose, you may be able to upload your photos to cloud storage or social media at the touch of a button.

Doxie Flip – Cordless Flatbed Photo & Notebook Scanner w/ Removable Lid

The Doxie Flip scanner provides you with an innovative option for your spur-of-the moment scans. Completely portable, the Flip is a small scanner that can be placed on top of the item to be scanned.

Features

Portability

Barely larger than a paperback book, the Flip fits nicely in your backpack or computer bag. Because it doesn’t rely on external USB or power cords, it can be set up and ready to scan in seconds.

Transparent Scanner Bed

Line up your item under the transparent scan bed and you’re assured of always scanning exactly what you see. Better than a wand-style scanner that requires a steady hand, the Flip will give you a crystal-clear scan every time.

Pros

Cordless

Because the Flip uses SD cards to store scans, you do not need to carry around a laptop computer to use it. Just put the SD card into your computer when you get home and transfer files to their permanent storage.

Easy to Use

Though unlike any scanner you have ever used before, the Flip is a good choice for the technology-impaired or users who are not familiar with scanners. The process of setting the scanner onto an item and pressing the green button is simple and intuitive.

Cons

Limited DPI

For a casual user, the maximum resolution of 600dpi should suffice. Those who want a finer level of detail will want to upgrade to a flatbed scanner that has the option of scanning at a higher resolution.

Batteries

The Flip runs on battery power, so if you don’t want to stock up on disposable batteries, make sure to invest in rechargeables. There is no option to run the Flip via a power cord or USB.

Small Scan Bed

Scanning small items is simple, but if you have a larger document, you will have multiple steps to follow before you end up with one image. The software bundle includes AutoStitch, a method to join image fragments, but this will add extra time to your scanning project.

Summary

The Doxie Flip keeps you mobile with its on-the-go scanning. You can streamline your travels, pack up at a moment’s notice, and not be tied down to a computer. The see-through scanner bed is useful for the scanning novice. However, the small size and battery usage may limit its functionality for some users.

Avision IS15+ Portable Scanner for Photos & Cards

The Avision IS15+ Portable Scanner is a very small, lightweight travel scanner. It is ideal for users who want to scan photos or business cards on-the-go. Because it scans directly to memory storage, it does not require a computer connection to scan.

Features

Built-in Image Processing

The built-in Image processing automatically de-skews and auto-crops your scans. This feature can save time for users who don’t want to manually crop and edit photos.

Portable Storage

The IS15+ scans directly to digital storage, allowing you to save scans without a computer. You can scan anytime, anywhere.

Pros

USB Flash or SD Card

If you’d like to save to a thumb drive or SD card, the IS15+ has ports for both. You can then view and upload your photos on the computer directly from the drive or card. Best of all, USB flash drives and SD Cards can hold thousands of photos, depending on their capacity.

Weight and Speed

The IS15+ weighs less than a pound, and is compact, making traveling with it convenient. It takes up very little space in your luggage or computer bag. It is also fast, scanning a 5×7 photo in less than 10 seconds.

Cons

No Battery Option

You cannot run the IS15+ with batteries. It requires a power cord to be operable. Some travel situations may have limited access to electricity, making a battery-operated scanner a better choice.

Limited Size and Thickness

Users who occasionally want to scan larger documents will need to shop for another scanner. The IS15+ has a maximum image size of 5×7. Standard-sized photos will scan, but anything larger will not. You will also not be able to scan thicker items like Polaroids.

No WiFi or USB Connection

The IS15+ lacks any WiFi capabilities, and does not connect to your computer via USB. You can’t preview your scans on the computer to make minor adjustments or corrections.

Summary

The Avision IS15+ is a good option for people who would like a basic travel scanner. Because of the automatic feeder, it is easy and fast to use. The built-in editing function may be easier for some than manually editing photos with software. The size of the items you scan is limited to 5×7, and there is no editing software included.

Epson FastFoto FF-640 High-Speed Photo Scanning System

The Epson FastFoto FF-640 is a fast, easy to use feeder-style scanner. The software bundle that comes with the scanner will help you edit and organize your photos.

Features

Speed

The FastFoto lives up to its name with a scanning speed of one photo per second, the fastest scan speed in the world.

FastFoto Software

The software suite will add to your photo editing capabilities and has a robust organizing and tagging system that will help you find photos later. Those who want to share their photos with slide shows can do so directly from the software.

Pros

Feeder

Using the feeder mechanism on the scanner allows you to quickly scan photos to save time. It can also process both sides of the photo at once so you can preserve handwritten notes on the reverse of the photo. Any two-sided document can be scanned a single time for maximum efficiency.

Social Media and Cloud Storage

The software bundled with the FastFoto is seamlessly integrated with cloud storage and social media. The images you scan can be immediately uploaded to Facebook, Google Drive, Dropbox and other cloud storage.

Accommodates Non-Standard Photos

The carrier sheet included with the scanner will help you scan non-standard sized photos. This is especially useful for smaller photos or regular sized photos that have been trimmed.

Cons

Not WiFi Enabled

Because the FastFoto is not WiFi enabled, you must always be connected to your computer to scan. This limits travel with the scanner and may inconvenience some users.

No SD Card or External Drives

There is no SD card or USB reader built into the FastFoto. If your photo storage system includes external drives, you have to put the photo onto the computer first.

No Thick Sheets

Polaroid instant prints cannot be scanned by the FastFoto. The feed can only accommodate paper or photo printstock.

Limited DPI

Artists and other professionals may find the maximum resolution of 600dpi limited in comparison to other flatbed scanners. Zooming and cropping may not be optimal at 600dpi.

Summary

For users who want to quickly digitize their family photo albums, the FastFoto is a great option. The software included is user-friendly and will allow you to save your photos with perfect clarity.

Epson Perfection V39 photo Scanner

The Epson Perfection V39 Photo Scanner is a perfect scanner for users who want an auto feed scanner with the capacity for larger-than-average photos. It comes with useful software that will help you improve your scans and bring your pictures to life.

Features

Easy to Use

The V39 is simple to understand and operate. It is perfect for users who want a single function scanner that has one-touch buttons for simple scan tasks like scanning directly into an email.

Up to 4800dpi Optical Resolution

If you are looking for a scanner that captures minute details, the V39 can scan up to 4800dpi. This is high in the range for budget scanners. Scanning at higher dpi makes zooming and enlargements look sharper and more in focus.

Pros

Shape and Size

Despite being a full-sized flatbed scanner, the V39 is slim and lightweight. It may function as a travel scanner. It can be stored or carried easily while not in use or while traveling.

No Power Cord

If you dislike having too many power adapters plugged into an outlet or surge protector, the V39 takes care of this problem. It gets its power from the USB cord that connects to your computer, eliminating the need to plug it in.

Software Bundle

The included software with the V39 includes Epson Document Capture Pro, Easy Photo Scan and ArcSoft Scan-n-Stitch. The photo editing allows you to do basic editing plus some retouching and removing dust. The Scan-n-Stitch allows you to scan large images and join them seamlessly.

Cons

No SD Card

If you like to scan directly onto a thumb drive without being connected to a computer, the V39 doesn’t have that capability. It requires a computer to be able to scan while other scanners have ports to plug in USB drives or SD cards.

Software Interface

If you dislike apps that look old-fashioned, you may want to steer clear of the Epson Document Capture Pro and Easy Photo Scan software included with the V39. Some users note that the interface is clunky and dated looking.

Summary

While the software is fully functional, the Epson V39 interface looks dated. The scanner itself is easy to use to scan perfect images. Some users may find the slender design and featherweight conducive to travel.

Canon Office Products LiDE120 Color Image Scanner

The CanoScan LiDE120 Color Image Scanner has many features that will appeal to users who need to scan photos but want varied options for doing so. The software included with the scanner will help you organize and process your photos into digital masterpieces.

Features

AutoScan Mode

If you don’t want to have to adjust settings, the AutoScan mode will automatically tweak options based on a quick preview scan. The scanner essentially does the thinking for you so you can save time and energy.

Photo Print Options

The LiDe120 excels at making your aging photos look vibrant and new again. You can correct dust, scratches, color fading and other problems that your old photos may have acquired over time.

Pros

Well-Designed Software

The bundled ScanGear software by Canon has three modes: AutoScan, basic mode, and advanced mode. The software makes it easy to scan, edit, and organize your photos.

Expansion Hinge

If you routinely scan hardcover or paperback books or other thick items, this scanner has a built in expansion hinge. It can accommodate items up to one inch, giving you access to the entire scanner bed.

USB Powered

There are no heavy, tangled power adapters with the LiDe120. It is powered directly through the USB connection to your computer, so it has one less dangling cord to worry about.

Cloud Data Storage

If you take advantage of safely storing your photos online, the LiDe120 has a button to upload to cloud storage. You can send your scans directly to the cloud, a quick and easy way of backing up your photos.

Cons

No USB Flash Drive or SD Card

The LiDe120 will always need to be tethered to your computer via USB cord. There are no ports on this scanner for flash drives or SD cards.

Text Conversion

Scanning documents to text is limited. The LiDe120 will convert to text but it will not preserve formatting. All text is saved into an ASCII file and will not retain any advanced formatting.

Summary

Despite its slim design, the Canon LiDe120 has a well-rounded amount of features. The software will appeal to new users and experts alike. Though it is a flatbed scanner, it scans photos quickly. If you need to scan documents to text, you may need to find another conversion program.

Final Verdict

If you choose auto feed scanners, the Avision IS15+ is perfect for travel, as it is lightweight and doesn’t require a computer to use. It scans to a handy SD card or USB thumb drive. The Epson FastFoto boasts the fastest scan time, allowing you to scan a photo in about a second. It has user-friendly software that will help you edit and organize your photos.

While not an auto feed scanner, the Doxie Flip is worth considering for its see-through scanner bed and portability. It has the ability to run on battery power, making scanning while you are traveling painless and convenient.

Flatbed scanners like the CanoScan LiDe120 and the Epson Perfect V39 have similar features and give users the option to scan thick and bulky items like hardcover books. The resolution is best on the V39, and some users will find it possible to use it as a travel scanner.

After you take into consideration the design, features, and bundled software of a scanner, all that is left to do is decide which one best suits you. All of the above scanners make choosing a photo scanner easy and fun, and will have you up and scanning in no time.