document scanner for the home office?
July 2, 2020 8:20 AM   Subscribe

Recommendations for a document scanner for the home office?


- Quality of the scan is the most important. It's going to be 8.5 x 11 pages. I don't care about being able to scan receipts.

- Having a reliable document feeder for 8.5 x 11 pages is the second most important. If I have to feed documents in 5 pages at a time, that is fine.

- Ease of workflow is the third most important. Ideally, I'd load the pages into the document feeder, push a button, and have PDF's appear in a drive in a folder I designate for each job on the shared office drive, but if I have a destination folder locally and then move to the shared office drive, that's fine. E-mailing me the files would be nice, but if it means having to fight to get the scanner to find the home network, I can live without.

- Color scanning would be nice. Wireless printing is unnecessary. A smaller footprint would be nifty.

The budget is about $400, although less would be a pleasant surprise for my boss.

Thank you!!!!
posted by joyceanmachine to Work & Money (17 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I can wholeheartedly endorse the Fujitsu ScanSnap. I have a desktop version at work and the portable version at home and both work great. At work I use it with a PC; at home I’ve used it with PC and Mac. If price and size were no object, I’d have the desktop version at home too because it handles larger batches of documents better. My scanners are both 6 years old, so I’m sure the models have been updated, which is why I’m not recommending a specific model.
posted by ElizaMain at 8:29 AM on July 2, 2020 [5 favorites]

Wirecutter reviewed portable document scanners a couple of years ago offer some suggestions.

(Although you expressly say you don't like phone based scanners - it might be worth checking to see whether there is any performance difference between whatever app you are using and the best that is now available. Again Wirecutter have done the reviewing of the possibilities - much more recently in this case. For my own part I use TurboScan for iOs - and personally would far rather choose than than a stand alone scanner for an (occasional) 20 page document - but that may be down to having a phone with a good camera in it.)
posted by rongorongo at 8:51 AM on July 2, 2020

Would a simple Brother multifunction laser printer fit the bill? It's a monochrome laser printer, but it has color scanning, both via a document feeder and via a flatbed.

We have a slightly older model and have been very happy with ours.
posted by vitout at 9:02 AM on July 2, 2020 [1 favorite]

ScanSnap is so good!!
posted by ferret branca at 9:25 AM on July 2, 2020

I have a Xerox Documate 3220 which is duplex, and has a flatbed, costs $229 on Amazon. ReadIris OCR is compatible and the best value I found after testing a dozen.
posted by Sophont at 9:36 AM on July 2, 2020

ScanSnap - it's amazing!
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 9:43 AM on July 2, 2020

Fwiw I have the Brother laser printer vitout links to above, and while it's a really great printer and does batch scanning nicely, it scans only single sided. And so far as I can tell its software doesn't have a feature to interleave a scan of the second side! If you have to scan anything double-sided it's a PITA.
posted by anadem at 10:47 AM on July 2, 2020

Also a vote for ScanSnap. They're so good that my budget of £100 meant that I had to get a really old one off ebay, rather than just one that's 2 or 3 years old.
posted by ambrosen at 10:49 AM on July 2, 2020

I work for a Canon-affiliate business that does document imaging and sells Canon scanners, so I'd be remiss to not recommend something: the Canon DR-C225W is a nice scanner in your budget range, it does color and duplex, and the CapturePerfect software can do what you want (send a PDF directly to a folder you define, including autoincrementing filenames, etc., it will also add OCR data to the PDFs too).

That said, some of our customers go with Fujitsu scanners because they're a bit cheaper, and they're fine machines. The FI-7160s are what I usually see but those are much higher than your pricerange (comparable to a Canon M260)
posted by AzraelBrown at 11:21 AM on July 2, 2020

Just a cautionary note: I bought this Fujitsu ScanSnap a couple years ago when it was $500 and now lists for more than double. The reason I particularly love my version is it uses Adobe software which does a very nice job of producing machine readable and searchable PDFs. I was going to buy another for the downstairs office but no, we'll just move this one to where it needs to be. Just FYI.
posted by forthright at 12:31 PM on July 2, 2020

I had the printer/scanner that vitout and anadem describe. It was kind of meh for scanning. The next model up, the MFC-L2750DW, does what-sorcery-is-this level simultaneous duplex scanning to a computer, shared drive, or cloud service.

Scanning more than one page with a phone is a pain unless you can set up a rig with good lighting holding the camera perpendicular. OneDrive for Android is better than it has any right to be for this job.
posted by scruss at 1:07 PM on July 2, 2020

nthing the ScanSnap. I bought the ScanSnap S1300i seven years ago and loved it so much that I bought another ScanSnap (the S1100i) for a more portable option. You can adjust the scan quality (lower quality is faster, but higher quality is plenty fast), they scan in color, and both have small footprints. The s1300i has a document feeder, and I regularly put in ~30 pages at once with no issues. Workflow is easy to set up and can scan straight to a designated folder. Not sure about straight to email as I haven't tried.

Only caveat is that this isn't a printer + scanner. If you needed a printer as well, you could get the ScanSnap (under $300 on Amazon) + a ~$100 printer and still be under budget.
posted by saltypup at 2:53 PM on July 2, 2020

Nthing ScanSnap, but damn, did not realize the price had jumped up like that. Pretty sure our office bought it at a price point closer to the $500 forthright mentions.
posted by yasaman at 2:53 PM on July 2, 2020

Yet another vote for the ScanSnap!
posted by mccxxiii at 3:41 PM on July 2, 2020

If you're willing to consider multifunction machines rather than dedicated scanners, I would look at the one-from-bottom Brother laser printer and scanner - I have the lowest grade $100-ish one With a flatbed top, and its scanning is adequate for me, but I wish I'd bought the next one up with a document feeder. It's scan integration on the Mac is mildly annoying but not so annoying I can't use it when I need it. Under $200 and network connected rather than tethered to your machine.

Caveat: I've not played with any of the software integrations. It makes jpegs and PDFs with its own software and that's basically all I ever needed.
posted by How much is that froggie in the window at 5:56 PM on July 2, 2020

I have an Epson ES-400 which I bought after using it at an old job a couple years ago. It was expensive but I use it so often and it simplifies my organization of paperwork so much that I feel it was worth the $. You can adjust quality in the settings, the document feeder is super fast, and it scans color or B&W. It works with letter or legal size papers and even half sheets.
posted by zdravo at 7:44 PM on July 2, 2020

I have a Scansnap iX500 and I like it, but I've become less impressed with the company over the years, most recently because upgrading to a Catalina-compatible version of the software significantly reduces your ability to use the device with a different computer.

The Wirecutter's review of the best portable document scanners recommends the Brother ADS-1250W. I've never tried a Brother scanner (well, I do have one of their all-in-ones; the scanner is ... adequate), but I might well try the ADS-1250W given the Wirecutter's recommendation.
posted by kristi at 9:12 PM on July 7, 2020

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