In 2005, Hurricane Katrina destroyed most of my in-laws family photo albums. Many photos were irreplaceable. Today, the ease to digitize and store documents and photos make having a portable document scanner not only a convenience but a necessity. As these devices become increasingly popular, it can become a challenge to find the best portable scanner to suit your needs with so many styles, features and choices.
Below, you will find (5) of the best portable scanners. I will discuss the products in detail and what I like about each one. By the end, you should have a clearer understanding of what you should be looking for in a portable printer scanner and how to identify the best one for your needs.
Never lose your precious documents or photos again.
Best Portable Scanners At A Glance:
- Epson Document Scanner (ES-60W)
- Fujitsu Scanner (iX100)
- Doxie Portable Scanner (GO SE)
- VuPoint Scanner (ST470 Magic Wand )
- Munbyn Portable Scanner
Types Of Portable Scanners – Sheetfed vs Wand?
There are basically 2 types of portable scanners. By default, when we think of a portable scanner, we think of the manual sheetfed variety. However, the wand-style or handheld scanner are extremely popular.
- Sheetfed Scanners: These are scanners that are small and versatile enough to be considered portable. They are battery or usb operated and can be used conveniently on-the-go.
- Handheld (Wand) Scanners: These are for those that are looking for something even ultra-portable. These scanners are typically even smaller and more convenient to use on-the-go. And you can hold them in your hand while scanning.
Pictured above is the Magic Wand Scanner by Vupoint Solutions that combines both types in one device.
Why Purchase a Portable Document Scanner?
Listed are the top reasons you should consider buying a portable scanner
- Protect and store documents and photos
- Eliminate the clutter of paper
- Eliminate hard copies of photos
- Locate receipts easier
- Conserve paper
- much, much more…
My top 5 selections are listed below and are not in any particular order, but grouped by type. I provided manufacturer’s videos when available so that you can see the products in action.
#1 – Epson Workforce ES-60W Portable Scanner For PC and Mac (Wireless)
This Epson document scanner is one of the best ‘bang for your buck’ scanners you will find available on the marketplace. Epson delivers a lot of value in this portable package. Not only is it a feature-packed scanner, but it offers exceptional speed to go along with it.
1. Fast and Light
Epson markets this scanner has the fastest, smallest, and lightest in its respective class and it doesn’t disappoint. This is a fantastic combination of speed and portability that you will not find in other scanners on the marketplace for the price point it’s available at.
To get the same combination of speed and portability, you generally need to pay a lot more. It is capable of scanning as quick as four seconds per page (8.5″ x 11″) at 300 dpi (dots per inch) using only the battery.
2. Wireless Functionality
As with any portable scanner on the market, you will want wireless functionality. Epson offers the ability to wireless scan to any operating system which makes it a very versatile scanner for those that don’t stick with a single ecosystem. It can work with PC, Mac, Android, and iOS.
3. Battery or USB Powered
If your battery is low, you will be able to switch power modes to USB cable to continue using it. This is great for those that don’t necessarily want to be limited to only using the scanner with the built-in battery.
4. Scan To Cloud
This scanner comes with Scan to Cloud functionality which means you will be able to link up your favorite online storage accounts for easy and convenient access. The scanner works with (4) different cloud services including Google Drive, FileBound, Evernote, and Dropbox.
1. Limited To 300 DPI With Mobile Apps
If you are scanning with the mobile app, you are going to be limited to 300 dpi. Along with this, you might find other features missing with the mobile applications.
#2 – Fujitsu PA03688-B005 ScanSnap iX100 Wireless Mobile Scanner for Mac and PC
The Fujitsu ScanSnap iX100 is another excellent option to consider. Not only is the ScanSnap small enough to take with you anywhere, but it offers a good balance of features to performance.
This particular scanner is capable of scanning a full colored page in a very quick 5.2 seconds. This means that you will spend less time scanning and more time on other tasks. If you regularly scan a lot of pages with color, you will find this speed to be a very good quality of life feature.
2. Battery Life
This scanner might be larger than some of the other models, but it packs a rechargeable battery that can last a long time. In fact, it can allow you to scan up to 260 documents on a single full charge. Therefore, you will spend less time being anxious that your battery is going to die on you during a scan.
3. Image Quality
This scanner truly excels when it comes to the image quality of its scans. It is capable of offering an optical resolution of up to 600 dpi.
4. Simplistic Integration With Cloud Services
Fujitsu makes it very easy and convenient to be able to access your scans on-the-go and wherever you need to. With one-button simplicity combined with easy to use the software, you get a very convenient scanner that can be used without having to install any drivers on your PC or Mac. It is fully integrated with Google Drive, Dropbox, Evernote, and more.
5. Dual Scan Functionality
This scanner comes with dual-scan functionality which means you will be able to scan (2) small-sized documents at the same time. This is great for those that are looking to speed up receipt scanning.
This scanner retails at a higher price than some of the other scanners in its class.
#3 – Doxie Go SE Wi-Fi Scanner
This is another one of the higher-priced scanners in the mid-range class. This scanner is marketed as the ‘smarter WiFi scanner.’
The Doxie Go portable scanner is extremely small. In fact, it is just about the size of a rolled-up magazine. Therefore, it makes for an excellent portable scanner that can be taken anywhere with ease.
2. No Computer Required
With this scanner, you are able to scan your documents or receipts anywhere you go without needing a computer to pair it with. The scanner will do its magic and send your scans to either local or cloud apps.
3. Expandable Memory
The unit comes with an included SD card slot. Therefore, you will be able to effectively store scans locally on the scanner itself if needed. This is great for those that might not have access to a wireless connection at all times. The included memory on the scanner is capable of storing up to 4,000 scans prior to needing to sync with an app.
This is a very snappy scanner. It is capable of scanning a full-color document in just 8 seconds at up to 600 dpi which is outstanding. Not only does it offer speedy scans, but it does so without sacrificing resolution like other scanners.
As mentioned, this is one of the higher-priced mid-range models on the market. While it does deliver good value for the money, you are paying more for convenience.
#4 – VuPoint Solutions Magic Wand Portable Document Scanner
This is a wand scanner that is one of the best in class. It comes packed with features and functionality at a very affordable price.
Use VuPoint Magic Wand scanner when higher resolution scans is required. It is capable of scanning at a maximum of 1200 dpi.
2. LCD Display
This product includes a 1.5-inch color LCD panel to display all of your scans. This is a very convenient feature that makes previewing your scans a breeze.
The Magic Wand scanner comes with a docking station that will allow you to transform your wand scanner into a portable and single-sheet auto scanner. This will help you get more out of your scanner when you are in need of better accuracy at your desk. This level of versatility makes this scanner an exceptional value.
1. Inconsistent Performance
This scanner is noted for having inconsistent performance and issues with Mac OS. It is something to be aware of when buying.
#5 – MUNBYN Photo Scanner For Phone – Wireless Portable Scanners For Photos and Receipts
This scanner is an affordable wand-style scanner that offers good performance for the money.
1. Resolutions and Modes
This scanner is capable of handling (3) resolutions and (2) color modes including color and mono. It offers enough of a range of dpi settings to make it easy to get crisp and accurate scans for everything from family photos to receipts.
2. Preview Screen
The wand includes a preview screen where you can even magnify in order to check details.
3. AutoSave and Format Choice
The scan will autosave and you can save your scans in different formats, as needed.
This wand comes with a (2) year warranty which is beyond what you would expect.
1. No Dock
Unlike the Vupoint Solutions wand, this one doesn’t come with an included docking station which lessens its versatility. However, it does offer OCR, online storage compatibility and more.
What To Look For When Buying the Best Portable Scanner?
When shopping for a portable scanner, it’s important to consider using a shopping criterion. To help you choose the most suitable scanner for your use case, we will share some of the things to look for:
Since these products are intended to be portable, you want the model to be lightweight and compact. Fortunately, most of the best portable scanners produced today weigh less than 2.2 pounds, though you should double check to ensure the product you’re buying is not an outlier (on the heavier side). A great portable scanner should be compact enough and resistant to withstand falls and shocks, as these devices are easy to drop.
One important question you should ask yourself is whether you prefer a portable scanner that comes with or without a rechargeable battery. Not all portable chargers will come with a rechargeable battery, and it’s important to decide if this feature is important to you as you may have to pay a bit more for the luxury. Keep in mind that rechargeable or not, you need to pay special attention to the charging time and the battery life, as these will determine how long and where you can use the device.
The most common connectivity options for portable scanners are Bluetooth, USB, and Wi Fi. It’s also pretty common to see models that feature a microSD card slot for storing the scans. So, don’t forget to think about the final point of your scanned documents and the kind of connectivity options your current devices have.
The type of portable scanner you choose will depend on the intended use. For instance, an automatic document feeder gives you a lane that sheets of paper take to make a copy. Some handheld models feature a wheel system that enables the scanner to smoothly move over the documents you’re scanning. The best scanner for you will be based on how you intend to use the scanner.
Just as with any other product you buy, one of the primary questions you should ask yourself is how you intend to use the product. If you’re looking to scan pages from a book, then a handheld scanner will be the best option for you. If you will mostly be scanning loose sheets, a sheet feeder might serve you better.
You should also consider whether you will be scanning text or images. For images, a device that can scan in high resolution is recommended. If you will only be making copies of documents, text, or contracts, the resolution won’t be as critical.
The resolution of the scanner will have an important influence on the quality of the digitized image. Resolution is measured in dots per inch (dpi), even for portable scanners. Basic documents or graphics will do fine with a resolution of between 300 and 600 dpi. For the higher quality photographs or documents though, you need a resolution level that’s higher than 900 dpi for great results.
We have include some of the most prestigious brands here. Other well known brands include Canon, and Brother. Brother is a Japanese brand that stands out as with its high-quality products, including printers, scanners, sewing machines, and computer accessories. Canon is a brand that you are probably familiar, especially when it comes to cameras or printers.
This will mostly depend on the model you choose. Some models don’t manage smaller items effectively, while others come with features such as special accessories or slots to help with scanning small documents.
Most portable scanners are super quiet, usually much quieter than a desktop scanner.
Most portable scanners feature inbuilt batteries that are rechargeable by plugging them to the included charger. Others will use AAA or AA batteries, which can either be standard or rechargeable.
Speed will vary based on the size of the document, the quality of the scan, and the type of scanner. For an 8 x 10 document, 5 seconds will be good for most scanners, and it’ll take less time for smaller documents. If the scanner you choose has an automatic feeder, it will be much faster and won’t be delayed by the time it takes you to feed documents into it.
Portable scanners scan documents in several different formats, so it all depends on the format you prefer and going with a product that gives out this format. Most scanners will capture files in the image format (JPEG, JPG, PNG, etc.) and in the PDF format. Also note that some computer software will let you convert the files to be compatible with e-books, so that you can enjoy them on your e-reader.
Verdict – Which Scanner Suits Your Needs?
Overall, there are plenty of different portable and wand scanners to choose from. The above listed are some of the best portable scanners available. You pretty much cannot go wrong with any of them.
If you plan on using the scanner primarily for business purposes, select one that has software to manage the scanned documents. If scans are primarily for photos, either option will work.
Choose the option that fits your criteria the most and you should be satisfied with your purchase.
Don’t forget to visit Fascinating Home Office for more home office ideas.