Thinking of equipping your office or home with a photo scanner? Good that you’re here, as the step you are taking is not a small one (financially).
You need to be super cautious when picking a photo scanner. They are all pretty expensive but for today’s lifestyle almost a necessity.
First of all, we will be talking about what should you look for when buying the best photo scanner, and afterwards, we will give some insights into the finest examples on the market.
How to Choose the Best Photo Scanner
There are several simple steps that you need to take in order to pick the one that fits your needs perfectly.
Know what you will be scanning
Do you intend to use it for 4×6 or 8×10 pictures? Whatever your choice might be now, it can occasionally change, so instead of 4×6, you’ll need 8×10 format. You want to get the scanner which will be able to scan various formats.
There are flatbed scanners and film scanners. Flatbed scanners are more for the general public, those who don’t need them for professional purposes. On the other side, film scanners are meant for professionals. They are pricier, with more features (including various formatting), and better resolution.
Needless to say, the resolution is one of the most important things you should look for. It’s basically the quality of an image that’s being read. It’s expressed in dpi (dots per inch), and basically, you will need no more than 600 DPI scanner.
Of course, the more, the better, but even 300 dpi will do perfectly fine. There is a difference in dpi needed for pictures that are intended to be posted on the internet and those that will be printed.
So, if you plan to print these with a color laser printer lately, you will want to strive for more dpi and avoid those ugly looking pixels on your printed images. The highest you’ll need is 1200 dpi if we exclude enlarging images when you’ll need over 3200 dpi.
Attention: when looking for resolution specs, always keep in mind that you are searching for specs that show optical resolution. Enhanced and interpolated resolutions are there to measure different things, and not really determine the quality of an image. Some take these two as a myth about the resolution.
There are different bit depths (color depths) that scanners are working at. Bit depths determine how well the color from your image translates to a digital image.
In most of the cases, 24 bits will do the job just fine. For a slightly better color and performance, you might consider even 30 bits.
However, scanning monochrome laser printer images, or black and white photos at higher performance requires both gray and color bit depth a bit higher (let’s say the 30-bit color and 12-bit gray).
The speed is mostly determined by the resolution. So, at different resolutions, scanners scan differently. If you plan on using your scanner regularly, then speed is quite important (it will save a lot of time).
On the contrary, if you just intend to use it occasionally, then the speed is not a too important factor for you.
Obviously, the budget is the thing you’ll be considering first. And these scanners are quite pricey. Picking the one that fits your budget plus your all other needs might be challenging.
However, we’ve chosen some of the photo scanners that not only belong to the high-end price point category but can fit almost everyone’s pocket and yet offer good performance.
Extra tip: when looking for a photo scanner, choose the one that’s separated from all-in-one printers. Separated scanners offer really better image quality, and they are quite simpler to use than those incorporated into printers.
1. Epson Perfection V600
If you want to create enormous enlargements of 6400 x 9400 dpi, you’ll be able to do it only with this Perfection!
It’s the optimum choice for those looking for a professional photo scanner that brings scanning to another level. The maximum resolution is 12,800 x 12, 800 dpi, which speaks pretty much for itself. Therefore, you will be able to calculate the exact dimensions in order to achieve the best quality.
With amazing features it has, you will be able to remove those eye-catching creases and tears of your photo.
Moreover, you will be able to remove the dust and scratches from film. The operating temperature is 50° to 95° F (10° to 35° C), and the safety of your photos is guaranteed.
It’s compatible with both Windows and MAC OS, and it’s extremely easy to use it, especially with a manual that comes in the package. Now, we’ve seen that the scanner can read coins, plastic ID cards, etc. It goes even better with Epson Perfection V600, as this one can scan even 3D objects.
Overall, it’s a budget-friendly professional photo scanner of great energy efficiency and increased productivity. Use it to scan, scan to email, copy or create PDFs with it.
- Great working temperature
- Amazing compatibility
- Scans even 3D objects
- Enormous enlargements of up to 6400 x 9400 dpi
- You might have some problems with the software update, so we recommend reading the manual first
2. Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner
If you are looking for something to handle large and fragile documents, this one might be your choice. It requires no PC to operate, but an SD card where it can store all the docs you need.
It’s a battery powered scanner with improved safety for originals, which offers unique flip-and-scan technology of optimal performance. Simply take the lid off and flip the scanner over to use the window to frame the original.
Being so user-friendly, it can scan almost any size – from very small to large documents. It can scan documents, quilts, art, portraits and much more.
The speed is pretty decent as it takes around 7 sec for the 4×6 image of 300 dpi. It’s simple as it gets- turn it on, press the green button and you are ready to go!
- Safe as it does not use the sheet feeder
- Simple to operate
- Decent speed, 7 sec for 4×6 images (300 dpi)
- Inserting the batteries may be troublesome
3. Doxie Flip
Doxie Flip is one perfectly designed scanner for photos, albums, scratches, memories, etc. It’s lightweight and portable, as it can fit almost any bag (its size is the same as the size of the book). It works on batteries and has a built-in memory so you can do your thing without the need of a PC.
What makes it unique is the removable lid. It allows you to flip this scanner and place it on your photos, directly. Doxie goes one step further with scanning. Not only it can scan the docs and pictures, but even coins, polaroids, stamps, portraits and countless historical wealth.
There is included software, which helps you organize your scans and import them directly to cloud services, and not an only cloud but Facebook, Dropbox, etc. It scans everything fast with the speed of up to 10 pages per minute of 600 dpi. Suitable for even larger prints.
- Can read stamps, coins, polaroids, portraits (of course docs and photos)
- Good speed at 600 dpi images
- Great software for instant import to cloud services, Facebook, Dropbox, etc.
- Batteries might be the only con if you intend to use it frequently
4. Canon CanoScan LiDE220
If you just need to upload those pictures to the cloud and keep them there forever, this one is the right choice for you. Canon, a well-known manufacturer of various tech equipment, never stops to amaze, and that’s the case with this scanner as well.
As said, it supports cloud services and those like Dropbox and Evernote. This one will automatically adjust the best settings according to the picture you are scanning (detecting it and adjusting it itself).
The speed is more than fair, as it can scan a letter-sized doc within 10 secs. If you are not in a rush, this one is a perfect choice. At least the quality will be top-notch.
Finally, its compatibility is simply astonishing. Even though we think, its compatibility is a bit exaggerated, as it supports everything from Windows 5 and above (because, who uses win 5, honestly), to even Windows XP, it’s kinda nice to know that there is a scanner that can fit old-fashioned person’s needs as well.
Of course, it supports MAC OS as well. All in all, a good scanner that definitely pays its price.
- Great OS compatibility
- Nice speed, letter-sized docs within 10 secs
- Auto adjustment of images
- Amazing value
- A bit trickier to navigate through the suite of tools
5. Brother Mobile Color Page Scanner DS-620
This compact and super lightweight scanner can measure pictures of up to 12’’ in length. With this being said, you’ll probably think that this Brother model weighs a ton. Well, on the contrary, it only weighs 1 lb.
It offers amazing, fast scanning speed with a daily limit of around 100 pages. It can scan up to 1200 dpi (interpolated) and 600 dpi (optical), with the blazing speed of up to 8 pages per minute.
Perfect for on the go, but for home offices and desks with limited space. It scans a variety of valuable documents, pictures, posters, and even plastic ID cards, which speaks a lot about its versatility.
With advanced software, you can scan docs to a shared folder, email, FTP, or print it directly. It pays great value for the price and is definitely worth checking out.
- Lightweight, only 1 lb
- Good speed, up to 8 pages per minute at 600 dpi
- Versatile, it can read even plastic ID cards
- Scans directly to email, FTP, or a printer
- A bit clunky
6. Epson Perfection V39
Epson introduced us to one of their perfections! It’s a V39 model that has an optical resolution of 4800 dpi. Needless to say, clarity and details of the scanned images are just amazing.
It’s a great and versatile scanner with countless features. It scans directly to Google Drive and similar cloud services, archives, restores, shares family photos for generations to come.
Being easy to use, you don’t need any pre-knowledge about using scanners at all. All can be done within several clicks. It’s compact and space-friendly, as it has the built-in kickstand for vertical placement.
One of the most interesting enhancement features is advanced digital dust correction. You will be able to remove the “dust” from scanned photos. It’s perfect for scanning artwork, documents, or oversized prints.
- Enormous optical resolution
- Direct import to cloud services
- Compact with built-in vertical kickstand
- Digital dust correction feature
- A bit loud
7. Plustek Photo Scanner – ephoto Z300
Some say this scanner is the easiest way to scan photos and documents. It supports various formats, from 3×5 all the way to 8×10 and letter and A4 sized paper.
The speed is quite fascinating, and it requires about 2 sec to scan a 4×6 photo and approximately twice more time for 8×10.
It’s even more efficient than flatbed scanners. Simply put one image by one and embrace efficiency. With some amazing image-enhancing functions, you will be able not only to enhance pictures but restore some old, faded images within 2 clicks.
With advanced editing functions, this scanner is all you will need. Most importantly for MAC users- it’s fully compatible with Mac OS X 10.8.x to 10.14.x. Of course, you can use it with PC OS 7/8/10 as well.
- Supports MAC OS
- Amazing enhancing features
- More efficient than flatbed scanners
- Supports various formats, from 3×5 to 8×10
- None so far
8. Doxie Go SE
If you are looking for something modern, this “new-age” scanner might be all you are looking for. It’s completely independent and portable, as it requires no PC to run and scan your pictures simply and clearly.
Now, you can scan docs with great speed at up to 600 dpi. On average, it takes around 8 seconds. This photo scanner offers amazing portability, as its size is no bigger than a rolled up magazine. It can scan up to 400 pages per charge, and hold 4000 of them stored before needing to sync.
With advanced Doxie app, you will be able to send pics directly to your favorite apps. It also offers well-known ABBYY OCR letter recognition technology.
With 1 year warranty and customer support at your service, Doxie ensures only the best experience.
- No pc required
- The great scanning speed for 600 dpi images
- Portable, small-sized
- Import pics directly to your apps
- ABBYY OCR letter recognition
- A bit lengthy
9. Epson FastFoto FF-680W
If you are looking something for personal, non-business use, then this absolute beast might be the thing for you. It can scan as fast as up to 1 photo per sec, which is pretty impressive (at 300 dpi).
You don’t need to worry about your photos being damaged, as this one has safe touch feature for scanning up to 8.5’’ wide, polaroid photos, postcards, and even panoramas without a single scratch.
There are modes for enlarging (1200 dpi), easy sharing and archiving (600 dpi TIFF).
It can even scan docs such as wills, tax records, receipts, etc. thanks to advanced Epson ScanSmart software with OCR. Moreover, the speed is blazing with up to 45 ppm/ 90 ipm.
- Good speed, up to 1 photo per sec
- Safetouch feature
- Various modes
- Scan docs, receipts, tax records, wills…
- Operating temperature is 41 ° to 95 °F
- Has a hard time with older black and white images
In light of everything that we previously mentioned, we can safely conclude that these are some of the best photo scanners on the market. Whichever you choose, you will not be mistaken, but be sure to check and compare your needs and the features of the products.