The Best Portable Scanners of 2016

by Patrick Hyde •

The Details

Paper is on the way out, but it isn’t gone yet. Offices around the world are full of documents produced before the digital age, filled with boxes full of memos and important documents. Scanning and uploading these documents doesn’t need to intimidating. Whether you have a basement full of files or just want to upload paper receipts to help balance your budget, a portable scanner is your best bet.

A good portable scanner is a fraction of the price of a big Xerox machine. Plus, they go places your printer can’t. They can scan up to a dozen documents at the same time and send them directly to your PC as searchable PDFs. As always, assess your needs before you decide what is best for you. We’ve assessed the field and found the best portable scanners available in 2016.

The Best Overall Portable Scanner of 2016: Doxie Go Wi-Fi

This fully portable scanner is light enough to carry in a backpack, but powerful enough to serve as your full-time desktop scanner. The flagship of Doxie‘s respected line of portable scanners, it is Wi-Fi enable so you can go from paper to PC or Mac in seconds without the use of any wires or cables.

Unlike some wireless scanners, the Doxie Go Wi-Fi is truly portable. It is less than a foot long and and about 2 inches tall, so it fits a piece of  standard computer paper but not much more. Barely heavier than a pound, it can go in an archivists backpack or legal aid’s tote-bag without feeling like a burden.

But the real magic of this product is the technology and utility. You can scan everything from business cards to receipts. It scans up to 10 pages of loaded A4 paper at a time. While you can instantly transmit the scanned document to your PC or Apple device (including Mac, iPhone, and iPad), it holds up to 1,800 scans at a time, and more if you put in an SD card. That means you can upload scans without a computer present, which means you can leave your laptop at home and scan away. Most people will never need this storage, but ask anyone who has had to scan an archive before and they will be extremely thankful for this functionality.

What is useful for everyone is ABBYY OCR technology that recognizes text in your scanned PDFs. That means you can search your documents for keywords or files, saving you the trouble of tracking down that one purchase or memo. Doxie Go Wi-Fi is also compatible with Evernote, OneNote, and Dropbox, which makes organizing your documents even easier. One downside is that it does not have duplex, or dual-sided, scanning.

The Best Dual-Sided Portable Scanner: Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300i

the best portable scanner of 2016

If you have filing cabinets full of double-sided documents that need to be digitized save yourself a ton of hassle by investing in a dual-sided scanner. Fujitsu’s ScanSnap S1300i Deluxe is the perfect tool for the job, though is a bit on the bulky side for a portable scanner.

This well-built machine weighs in at nearly 5 pounds, but justifies the extra weight with diverse functionality and quality scanning. You can scan in color, grayscale, or monochrome at a clip of 12 double sided pages per minute. It doesn’t matter if you are scanning medical files, receipts, or handwritten notes. The ScanSnap has auto size and color detection, cropping out empty room for the perfect quality and size scan. ABBYY FineReader lets you  create automatically searchable PDFs on PC or Mac.

The ScanSnap can be recharged with via USB or AC Adapter, so it works everywhere your laptop does. You also get a wide array of cloud options. It can upload documents to Evernote, Google Docs, Salesforce, SharePointOnline, One Drive, and more.

The Best Handheld Scanner: MSRM iScan Wand

wand

In the library and need to scan a page for your research paper? The handheld MSRM iScan Wand is your best friend. This battery-powered device is perfect for scholars and artists who need to get up to 900x900dpi reproduction of photos, textbooks, or whatever.

The lightweight device weighs a bit more than half of a pound and is charged by USB. It is about the size of a rolled up magazine, so you can fit it in your purse or bag easily. Like the other products on this list, it scans into a searchable PDF or to cloud technology. Because it is handheld, it isn’t ideal for scanning huge quantities of documents, since each needs to be done individually. But the high image quality, ease of use, and portability make it a precision tool to take on the road.

The MSRM iScan Wand is available on Amazon for about $55.

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