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Brother ADS-2200 Wireless High-Speed Color Duplex Desktop Document Scanner
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Canon imageFORMULA DR-C225 II Office Document Scanner
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IMAGEFORMULA DR-M260 FB CLR DPL
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Kodak Alaris S2040 Sheetfed Scanner - 600 dpi Optical
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Kodak Scanmate i940 (1960988) up to 20 ppm/40 ipm up to 600 dpi Sheet Fed Document ...
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Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300i (PA03643-B205) Up to 24 ipm 600 x 600 dpi USB Duplex Document ...
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Brother IntelliFax-2840 High-Speed Laser Fax
$199.99
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Brother ADS-2700W Wireless High-Speed Document Scanner
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Fujitsu ScanSnap iX1500 (PA03770-B205) Trade Compliant Sheet Fed Document Scanner
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Kodak Alaris S2070 Sheetfed Scanner - 600 Dpi Optical
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Plustek SmartOffice PS286 Plus (783064424486) Duplex up to 600 dpi USB Sheetfed ...
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Epson WorkForce DS-410 Document Scanner
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Tips for Buying a Scanner

Introduction

Scanners are essential tools for professionals that need to transfer physical documents and images onto a digital format for editing or record keeping. However, shopping for a scanner can be a complicated process, requiring knowledge of key technologies and types of scanners. If you are just beginning that process or are already in the thick of it, the information below will help you make an informed purchasing decision.

Key Technologies

Charge-coupled Device (CCD)

A CCD scanner uses a light source to illuminate the document being scanned. Then the image is magnified by a lens, which is captured by an image sensor similar to what you would find in a DSLR camera. This allows for high resolution details and more color information to be captured.

Contact Image Sensor (CIS)

Instead of using one lens, a CIS scanner uses many small fiber optic lenses to transfer the image to an array of sensors. A CIS scanner is usually less expensive than a CCD scanner, though image quality may not be as high.

Resolution

For monitors and televisions, resolution is given as the number of pixels in each dimension (length x height). But for scanners, resolution is rated in dots per inch (DPI) or pixels per inch (PPI). Both refer to the number of dots or pixels in a given line one inch long. The higher the resolution or DPI, the more detail and better quality the scanned image will be. Unfortunately, higher resolution scanners may end up costing more, but are able to capture smaller details. Aim for around 300 DPI for scanning text and 600 DPI for web-quality images. If your organization plans to reprint scanned images however, you will need to find a scanner with even higher DPI.

Color Depth

Color depth for scanners is rated in bits per pixel and is a measure of how much color data a scanner can capture. The higher the bit rating, the higher color depth is and therefore more colors able to be captured. When shopping for a scanner, aim for 24-bits for scanning text, and 36 for images.

Software

If you need specialty scanning software, try to find a scanner with that software bundled with it to avoid spending extra on programs. For instance, text recognition programs are available separately, but you can lower costs by buying a scanner that is bundled with text recognition software.

Duplex

This refers to being able to scan both sides of a page at once. Not needed unless your organization expects to scan many double sided documents, as duplex scanners tend to cost more.

Automatic Document Feeder (ADF)

An ADF automatically feeds the next page in a multiple page document into the scanner and is useful feature to have if your organization often scans stacks of papers. One advantage is that an ADF scanner will allow your organization’s professionals complete other tasks while waiting for the scanner to finish scanning.

Types of Scanners

Flatbed

Flatbeds are versatile scanners that can be used to scan a variety of different objects, both thick and thin. The object that will be scanned is placed on the transparent scanner bed and as long as it can fit, it can be scanned. Flatbed scanners work well with letter sized office paper but some may be incompatible with larger legal paper sized documents. As a bonus, they can also be used to scan thicker objects such as pages on books and magazines.

Document

These scanners can resemble printers or fax machines with trays to load blank papers. They often have automatic document feeders and are compatible with document sizes, from letter to legal. However, they are not able to scan larger objects such as books, magazines, or notepads.

Portable

The term portable scanner can refer to two different types of scanners, barcode scanners and portable document scanners. Barcode scanners are used to scan just barcodes while portable document scanners are used to scan paper documents. Portable document scanners are useful tools for professionals that need to scan documents while on business trips.

Business Card

Designed to scan business-card-sized objects, many can be used to scan ID cards, credit cards, and other items with similar dimensions.

Conclusion

While shopping for a scanner, keep the above tips in mind and you will be able to make an informed decision. There are many different technologies and types of scanners, of which some may be unneeded by your organization. Identifying the scanner that best fits your organization’s needs instead of buying the most feature-packed one will save costs down the line.