I need recommendations for a good scanner.
October 19, 2007 10:45 AM   Subscribe

I need recommendations for a scanner that will scan documents into black-and-white PDF files in a quick, clear and crisp fashion. I am also interested in hearing of any brands to avoid.

I work as a paralegal in a small law office. I have access to a super-expensive, sheet-fed scanner but it requires leaving my desk and walking all around to the opposite side of the floor. I will be using this scanner primarily to scan legal documents into black-and-white PDF files. I'm looking for something under $200. Thanks to everyone in advance.
posted by invisible ink to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
You might want to look into the Scansnap, althought it might be more than you wanted to spend.
posted by sharkfu at 11:01 AM on October 19, 2007

Scansnap all the way. I love mine. Too simple not to use and it works every time.
posted by cocoagirl at 11:08 AM on October 19, 2007

Scansnap. $400-$500.

Sorry, but the cheaper ones aren't worth it.
posted by small_ruminant at 11:57 AM on October 19, 2007

nthing Scansnap -- it is amazing and is totally worth the extra money. I say this as someone who makes $35k a year and shops almost exclusively in thrift stores :)

I have a Canon flatbed scanner that will also do this, in theory -- but it only works for entirely flat things (no books, no stapled/bound docs unless you unstaple/bind them) and is slow (not just because you have to place every page by hand) besides.
posted by obliquicity at 12:08 PM on October 19, 2007

Me too: ScanSnap. The ABA has a mailing list for solo practitioners, and the ScanSnap is the breakaway favorite. The OCR for it is great, as well.

You can get one refurbished for about $350, although you might run into difficulties getting software if you go that route. Fujitsu seems willing to mail you missing software if you provide them with as little information as possible. "My scanner shipped without ____. Who can I speak with to fix this?" worked for me.
posted by averyoldworld at 12:19 PM on October 19, 2007

nth+1 Scansnap. If you need cheaper, search ebay for a C7670A with ADF. They are tanks!
posted by SirStan at 1:08 PM on October 19, 2007

I love my ScanSnap too -- but it's only partially perfect. The scanning does work like a charm, and generating PDFs directly is convenient. The sheet feeding, however, leaves a bit to be desired -- significantly more likely to double feed (pull in two sheets at once) or misfeed than the sheet feeders on (say) an office-grade copier/network scanner.
posted by MattD at 2:29 PM on October 19, 2007

Response by poster: Thank you everyone, for the recommendations. After much wincing and grimacing, I decided to purchase the ScanSnap S510. The reviews here, on Amazon, and in the article linked to by sharkfu led me to believe that, in spite of the price ($462.66), this will be a worthwhile investment.

Sharkfu, that ATPM article was extremely helpful. I am forced to use a PC at work, but have a Powerbook at home - and that article contained very useful tips about getting the PC version of ScanSnap to cooperate with a Mac.
posted by invisible ink at 7:43 PM on October 23, 2007

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