Whether you are looking for a flatbed, sheetfed, or portable document scanner, the available choices can be overwhelming. For this, a document scanner comparison chart can provide you an overview of the different offerings of a myriad of products.
We understand that interpreting all the features and values can be dizzying, too. Thus, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to help you maximize this tool and eventually help you find the specs that are right for you.
What are Some of the Terms that You’d Find in a Document Scanner Comparison Chart?
First off, you need to familiarize yourself with the terms you’d come across with in a document scanner comparison chart or any scanner’s product description. This will help you make an informed decision as to which specs will meet your needs:
Dimensions and weight.
Very basic in a document scanner comparison chart is the weight and dimensions of the scanner. This is an important consideration if you’re looking for something portable or if you’re working with limited office or desk space.
Computer Platform or Compatibility.
While most scanners are compatible with both PC and Mac computers as well as iOS and Android devices, others are much more selective. If you have a Mac computer or mobile device, chances are higher for it to come across a scanner that it cannot support.
Thus, before even going into the other specs, this is something you should consider first.
Maximum media size.
This refers to the maximum length and width of the paper that you can feed into the machine for scanning. If you have regular needs, you can just stick with a letter size that measures 8.5in x 11in.
This means that maximum width for scan target is 8.5 while the maximum length is 11 inches.
For more flexibility, you can go for a legal size that measures 8.5in x 14in. Other scanners can work on 11in x 17in and 8.5in x 196in.
Some portable scanners, despite their seeming limitations in this area, have an automatic stitching capability for a two-page spread. Interestingly, a few handheld scanners can even scan documents or photos 98 inches long.
Optical Character Recognition or OCR.
This technology makes it possible for you to edit or extract texts from a scanned document. So if you want to cut back on retyping texts, this is something that you should be looking for.
Duplex or double-sided scanning functionality.
This refers to the ability of the scanner to scan both front and back pages in one pass. This is perfect for handling a large volume of documents as it cuts scan time in half. Not all scanners can perform double-sided scanning.
Automatic document feeder.
As the name suggests, it is that part of some scanners where you place a batch of documents to be scanned and which the machine will feed automatically. Others can carry eight pages on the feeder; whereas, a few can hold 200 pages.
On the other hand, flatbed scanners and most portable scanners require you to feed each document or photo manually.
Double feed detection.
This feature alerts you when the scanner fed more than one document. This way the scanning sequence will not be disrupted and cost you more time, and a headache is sorting things out.
This advanced feature allows you to send a copy of scanned images or documents to your mobile phone, computer, or cloud storage. This is definitely a time-saver considering you don’t need to connect USB cords or to remove and insert SD cards to transfer data.
A word of caution: Just because a scanner has this feature doesn’t mean it has the whole suite of WiFi connection for computer, mobile device, cloud, or email. That is something you need to learn more about in detail for each product.
Transparent Media Adapter or TMA.
Also known as a film adapter, it allows film or negatives to be scanned and shows you ‘developed’ images. The adapter is a light in the lid of a flatbed scanner that allows film or negatives to be electronically processed and saved. This is not a feature that’s typically available in most flatbed scanners.
What are the Important Values in a Document Scanner Comparison Chart?
There are two important values you’ll come across in a document scanner comparison chart. These are for scanning resolution and speed. They are measured using the following units:
Dots per inch (dpi).
This term refers to the clarity of your scan. Often dpi is used interchangeably with pixels per inch (ppi), but that’s a different lengthy discussion.
If you are going to use your scanner specifically for photos, the higher the dpi capacity of the printer the better the resolution of your scan. But if you’re mainly going to scan documents, 300 dpi is good enough. If you’re scanning a document with the intention of reprinting, go for 600 dpi.
It is important to note though that the higher the dpi, the longer the scanner takes to complete a scan. For example, what may take 10 seconds to scan in 150 dpi will take more than six minutes in a 4800 dpi setting. Scanning in a higher dpi value also means a larger file.
Still, you’d want to get a scanner with a high dpi value because you can always scan at a lower dpi with it. With a scanner with an already low dpi capacity, you cannot go higher. A scanner with 1200 to 1440 dpi will allow you to scan in the best photo mode.
Pages per minute or ppm.
It indicates the speed by which a one-sided scanner can complete its job. Thus, if scan speed is an important consideration in choosing a scanner, this is the one that you should be looking at.
Impressions per minute or ipm.
This refers to the ISO print speed of a duplex document scanner. Since it scans the front and back pages in one pass, you’d notice that the ipm values are often double the indicated ppm figures. A duplex scanner that scans at 18ppm will be able to do 36ipm.
A document scanner comparison chart is a quick way to see how different products’ offerings match your needs. Nevertheless, it’s essential to learn more about your choice of a product before you make your purchase.
Nothing can be more frustrating than getting a product that doesn’t even meet your basic requirements for speed, quality, and convenience.