Whether you need to scan stacks of family photos, scores of documents, or even just the occasional business card, there's a scanner designed for the task. Here's how to shop for the right one.
How to Buy the Right Scanner?
Settling on a scanner that meets your specific needs can be challenging. Most scanners on the market today can handle everyday office tasks, but they come in a wide variety of types and sizes that are fine-tuned for different purposes. Here are the key questions to ask before you buy. We'll also take a look at the different kinds of scanners and their features.
What Kind of Media Will You Scan?
Knowing what and how often you expect to scan will tell you everything you need to know about the features you'll need. The two most common classes of things that get scanned are photos and documents (that is, unbound pages), but plenty of other media are common scan targets, such as bound books, business cards, film (slides and negatives), magazines, and easily damaged originals like postage stamps. Somewhat less common are 3D objects, such as coins or flowers. You should also consider details like the maximum size of the originals (more on that in a moment) and whether you'll need to scan both sides of document pages.
Do You Need a Flatbed?
For photos or other easily damaged originals, bound material, and 3D objects, you need a flatbed scanner, which has a large glass platen on which you place the documents, books, or items. (When we talk about scanning objects, here we're talking about scanning 3D objects to two-dimensional images; 3D scanners for scanning objects to 3D files for display or printing on a 3D printer are a different beast entirely.)
Originals like photos and stamps can go through a sheet feeder, but you risk damaging them. If you need to scan this sort of original only once in a while, you may be able to get by with a sheet-fed scanner that comes with a plastic carrier to protect the originals. Keep in mind, however, that even brand-new, unscratched plastic carriers can degrade scan quality.
Scanner models tend to stay on the market for a long time between iterations, and this is especially true of flatbed photo scanners. Not only do they often remain on sale for years, but also, few new models are introduced. We regularly update our Best Scanners roundup, so should you encounter an "oldie but goodie," it simply means that no similar model that we've reviewed has yet surpassed it.
Do You Need a Sheet Feeder?
If you plan to scan documents on a regular basis—particularly those longer than one or two pages—you almost certainly want a sheet feeder. Having to open a flatbed lid and set a page in place is a minor chore, but having to repeat the process 10 times for a 10-page document is a tiresome annoyance. Some sheet-fed scanners can also handle thick originals, such as health-insurance ID cards.
If you'll primarily be scanning one or two pages at a time, a manual sheet feeder is probably all you need. If you'll be scanning longer documents on a regular basis, however, you'll want an automatic document feeder (ADF) that will scan an entire stack of pages unattended. Pick an ADF capacity based on the number of pages in the typical document you expect to scan. If you occasionally have a document that is more pages than the ADF capacity, you can add more pages during the scan as the feeder processes them. Some ADFs can also handle stacks of business cards well.
How About Duplexing?
"Duplex scanning" means scanning both sides of a page at once. If you need a sheet feeder or ADF, and if on a regular basis you expect to scan documents that are printed on both sides, you'll want a duplexing scanner, a duplexing ADF, or a scanner with a driver that includes a manual-duplex feature.
The best, swiftest duplexing scanners have two scan elements, so that they can scan both sides of a page at the same time. A design like this will be faster than a scanner with a simple duplexing ADF, but it will likely also cost more. A duplexing ADF will just scan one side, turn the page over, and only then scan the other.
In contrast, a scanner with a driver that supports manual duplexing will let you scan one side of a stack and then prompt you to flip and re-feed the stack to scan the other side, with the scanner driver automatically interfiling the pages. Manual duplexing in the driver is the most economical alternative, and it is a good choice if you don't scan two-sided documents very often, or you are on a tight budget.
What Resolution Do You Need?
For most scanning, resolution isn't an issue. For, say, tax documents, even a 200-pixel-per-inch (ppi) scan will give you good enough quality for most purposes, 300 ppi is almost always sufficient, and it's hard to find a scanner today that supports less than 600 ppi. Similarly for photos, unless you plan to crop in on a small part of the photo or print the photo at a larger size than the original, 600 ppi is more than enough.
Some kinds of originals, however, require higher resolution. If you're scanning 35mm slides or negatives, for example, you'll probably want to print them at a much larger size than the original, which means you'll need to scan them at a high resolution. Similarly, if you want to see the fine detail in an original, like a stamp, you'll need to scan it at a high resolution. In these cases, you'll want a scanner that claims an optical resolution of at least 4,800 ppi.
How Big Are Your Originals?
Picking a scanner that can handle the size of the originals you need to scan seems like an obvious point, but it's easy to overlook. For example, most flatbeds have a letter-size platen, which will be a problem if you occasionally need to scan legal-size pages. Most flatbeds with ADFs will scan legal-size pages via the ADF, but not all do, so be sure to check. You can also find scanners with larger flatbeds, but they will, of course, take up more desk space.
What Software Will You Need?
Most scanners will work with just about any scan-related program, but if the software you need already comes with the scanner, you won't have to pay extra for it. Depending on what you plan to scan, some of the software features you may want to look for include photo editing, optical character recognition (OCR), text indexing, the ability to create searchable PDF documents, and a business-card archiving or management program.
Do You Need a Special-Purpose Scanner?
Finally, consider whether you need a special-purpose, rather than general-purpose, scanner. Among the most common special-purpose choices are scanners for business cards (small and highly portable), books (designed to let pages lie flat), and slides (smaller than flatbed scanners, but no better at scanning slides than flatbed scanners with equivalent features).
Two other possibilities are portable scanners (general-purpose sheet-fed scanners small enough to fit in your laptop bag) and pen scanners (which you hold and trace over text). Some of the latest portable models can operate without a computer attached, scanning to a memory card or even to a smartphone. You can also find some that function as both portable and desktop document scanners by combining a portable scanner with a docking station that includes an ADF. Depending on what you need to scan, any one of these may be a good choice, either as your only scanner or as a supplement to a general-purpose scanner.
Single Function Scanner of Multi Function Printer ?
Multifunction printers (MFPs) have built-in scanners, nearly all with flatbeds and many with sheet feeders and ADFs. To get the most out of your scanning, however, you'll probably want to get a single-function scanner.
Contact us if need more professional advice or wish to experience some of the document scanners at our showroom.
Shop at Scanext Online Store: https://www.lazada.com.my/shop/the-scanner-malaysia/
Source: PC Magazine