It seems that humanity has created a huge amount of text and graphics materials during our existence. We inherited a voluminous legacy of fiction, graphic images and much more. But over the last hundred years, technology has jumped so much that the volume of new information almost exceeds everything previously accumulated. Of course, in the age of universal computerization, physical media are useless – the electronic versions run the show. Something is initially created in digital form, the other you have to digitize in various ways.
The easiest option is to use the flatbed scanner. In our reviews, we will talk about the most simple and familiar to the ordinary user models for scanning documents, books, magazines, photos, etc. It will be useful in several areas at once: for a home user to digitize memorable photos, office workers to create an electronic copy of a document, and for photographers to create a digital photo for subsequent retouching. There are a lot of usage scenarios. In any case, in our rating, you will find the devices, among which there is definitely a model for your needs.
Home Maker Guide created for informational purposes only. Thus, we neither endorse you in any way to buy specific products in our reviews, nor making you act like it’s written in our guides. We are reserving the rights for you to make your personal decision.
ARCHIE ADAMSEditor-in-Chief of the Home Maker Guide
A scanner is a device designed to digitize paper documents, photographs, and other originals. It is important to note that, the quality of “electronic” copies does not only directly depends on its characteristics, but also the ease of use, the speed of work, as well as other operational parameters.
A flatbed scanner is named so because of the glass plate on which the original source is being scanned. Its colleague, a drum scanner, uses a glass drum for this purpose. The advantage of the former model over the same drum is that it is enough to place the original source on the flatbed for scanning without exposing it to any impacts (pressure, bending, deformation, vibration). Therefore, it is suitable for fragile or even three-dimensional objects.
Documents accompany modern society at every turn. It is already difficult to imagine your life without workflow. And often we are confronted with such a problem, when we urgently need to transfer documents from paper to electronic form, or transfer photos from an old film to a hard disk or USB flash drive. For this purpose, we need the best flatbed scanner and scanning software.
Furthermore, everyone has pictures of cameras with a film at home. In the digital age, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find a quality atelier that can digitize memorable moments. Fortunately, there are digital devices that can make a quality copy. With the help of a scanner, you can extend the life of your images for many decades.
Such devices are of great help at work or in school. But the variety of flatbed scanner devices is large, and you can easily get confused.
On the modern market, products of this type are represented by a variety of manufacturers, among which it is rather difficult to select the flatbed scanner for home use. However, according to most buyers, the Japanese representatives deserve the most attention. Canon is one of the first manufacturers, whose product parameters are targeted at both small business and private individuals.
Epson is at the forefront of being the most environmentally friendly product manufacturers. Among the top companies is also a well-known HP ScanJet. These brands are located on an approximately equal level in terms of product quality, its functional equipment and other characteristics that are key to a potential buyer. Therefore, the following models can be deservedly considered the worthiest among a number of analogs.
If you want to purchase the best flatbed scanner 2021 for home use for periodical digitization of photos or documents, and you are not a professional in this area, you can be completely satisfied with the Canon CanoScan Color Image Scanner.
Speed is a rather important criterion for choosing the best flatbed scanner because no one wants to wait a full minute while the device scans any document. Moreover, if you want to scan a thesis or even a book … then speed is generally an extremely important parameter. So you should consider this feature. It is important to bear in mind that, sometimes manufacturers specify scanning speed in different ways; some indicate the time during which the device will scan the A4 page; others indicate the scan time of a single line.
According to numerous Epson Perfection V600 review, it is a good CCD with a maximum scan resolution of 6400 × 9600 dpi A4 originals. The speed is impressive – just 4 seconds per color A4 page. It also provides the ability to scan films, and the bundled software includes licensed software, comprising Fine Reader, Photoshop Elements, etc. There are a lot of devices today, so there are difficulties with the choice for buyers. If you already know the criteria for choosing, but do not know which model to prefer, we will give you a rating of the top 9 devices with the most positive reviews.
When you invest in the purchase of the best flatbed scanner, you should be aware of what you will buy. There are so many models on the market that it is very easy to get confused. This guide will help you in such a difficult task as buying a product and explain the differences between the models. After reading this guide, buying will not be a costly mistake for you but will allow you not to think about buying a new device for many years. The choice does not seem to be difficult for most users. However, in reality, it is worth considering a few important features:
In modern devices, two types of sensors are used – CIS and CCD. The first type is used in low-cost and mid-budget models, as well as in sheetfed variant. It allows you to achieve good quality materials and make the device quite thin. CCD sensors are much more complicated, more expensive and more dimensional. They are used in high-quality flatbed scanners that are designed to scan photos and other media that require high accuracy. CCDs have excellent color reproduction and depth of field. The disadvantage is the large size and slowness.
In the overwhelming majority, LEDs are used to illuminate the scanned materials – they are small, warm up quickly and consume little energy. Sometimes there are xenon lamps (which offer significant energy consumption, excellent quality, small size and minimum warm-up time) and cold cathode fluorescent lamps (with long warm-up time, excellent image quality). Most likely, your future choice will have an LED backlight.
Most products scan A4 sheets or less. If you are going to scan larger media, then be sure to purchase the appropriate model – it will be larger and more expensive, but will allow you to scan A3 sheets without having to cut or fold them, and then further process the data on the computer. However, in most cases, the A4 is enough.
This serves as the main characteristic of any flatbed scanner. It describes the accuracy of transferring analog information into digital form – the number of pixels per inch. If you are not engaged in professional work with printing materials and photographs, then a resolution of 600×600 (horizontally and vertically) or 1200×1200 dpi will suffice. If you need maximum quality, then the limit of perfection rises to 4800х4800 dpi. Naturally, the models with higher resolution are significantly more expensive.
This is another important characteristic of all flatbed scanners, which determines their purpose. Most office and home devices are 24-bit, that is, they use 8 bits for each of the colors of the RGB palette. Equipment for professional photographers and designers is more capable – they use a 48-bit color, which makes it possible to achieve almost perfect color reproduction and process the received materials on a PC without loss of their quality.
These most times depend on the type of the product. As it was already mentioned, sheetfed models cope with scanning much faster. If you need a printer for a large number of documents – purchase a sheetfed scanner, if for high-quality photos and printing – take a look at slow flatbed models.
Not all models allow you to power up through the USB port of the computer so you can use a USB flatbed item with a laptop (or simply do not clutter up the workplace with another wire). As a rule, this applies to low-cost models.
The vast majority of modern scanners are connected to a PC using a USB port. Some top models can also use the fast FireWire port (IEEE 1394). In addition, sometimes there are models with an optional connection via a local network – wired (Ethernet) or wireless (Wi-Fi). The wireless flatbed device is intended for use in offices with multiple client computers.
Such an adapter allows you to scan documents on transparent media – for example, on film. These adapters are rarely used, but if you need to scan such media in your work, you cannot do without them.
The presence of an automatic feeding device allows you to scan a large number of documents quickly (usually 30-60 sheets). This device can be one-sided or two-sided.
All products can be divided into 2 types: for home and industrial use. Industrial models, as the name implies, are used in production. The devices of this best flatbed scanner type are subject to increased requirements for speed, load, reliability, and other performance characteristics. Home units are designed, as a rule, for non-everyday use. Due to this, they are much cheaper and simpler than industrial ones. In any case, any device can be used to scan documents; the only question is how it does it and at what speed … Today, there are three main types of devices on the market, which differ in both design and characteristics. They are:
Flatbed models are the most common. It consists of three basic elements: a glass platform, a cover, and a key element with which the picture is processed. You can still hear the characteristic buzz with which the light element rolls along with the runners. The image is static and does not move, due to which the maximum quality of the final file is achieved.
These devices are able to read information from only one sheet, books, magazines, and other print media is too tough for them. Externally, they can resemble a printer into which you insert a page, it is pulled through with rollers, and exits from the other side. The paper is fastened between two rollers, which with a certain speed drive the document through itself.
Slide units are designed exclusively for digitizing and converting a photographic film into a full-fledged digital image. They are highly specialized and are suitable for only one task. By the way, there are also flatbed models with a similar module.
Asking the question “Which is the best flatbed scanner to buy?” you need to start from the nature of your activity. If you work with design, advertising, and all that requires visual perception, you should pay attention to such parameters as color depth and scan quality. If all you need is a printout of documents, then there is no need to spend too much money on useless functions. Perhaps you are satisfied with the cheapest one. And in our case, based on homemakerguide experts’ view, Epson Perfection V600 Scanner is the best one. No matter what source materials you have: documents, traditional paper photographs, film or slides, medium format transparent originals or 35 mm format, this one will cope with their transferring into electronic format perfectly well. It features high performance and color accuracy, delivering better results than most at a similar price.