Whether you have scores of documents, stacks of family photos, or reels of 35mm film to scan, there’s a flatbed scanner out there designed and ready for the task.
In this guide, we’re going to help you find the right one.
From digitizing thousands of pages to bringing photo albums into the 21st century, here are
10 fantastic flatbed scanners that can do it all yet shine bright in their own unique way.
Best Flatbed Scanners of 2020
Best All-Purpose Scanner
|Epson Perfection V600|
Best Scanner for Photos
|Canon CanoScan 9000F MKII|
Best Portable Scanner
Best for a Heavy Workload
|Epson Perfection V550|
Best Scanner for Books
|Plustek OpticSlim 2610|
|Epson Perfection V850 Pro|
Best for Large Items
|CZUR ET18 PRO |
|Epson Perfection V39|
Versatility and Ease of Use
|Xerox DocuMate 3220 Duplex|
Best for Basic Use
|Epson Perfection V19|
1. Epson Perfection V600 – Best All-Purpose Flatbed Scanner
While the V600 can’t exactly match the pixel quality of a much more expensive high-end photo scanner, it offers a high 6400 x 9600 DPI resolution and all of the functionality the average user could ask for.
Needless to say, it does a good job of living up to its name and creating near-perfect scans of the original. Sure, you’re going to lose some quality whenever you convert an image, but with the Epson Perfection, the scans are a near mirror image of whatever you lay on its glass flatbed. The scanner can produce fast sharp and crystalized images. This optical resolution allowing you to create brilliant enlargements up to 17 inches by 22 inches.
Easy Photo Fix tool
Furthermore, the Easy Photo Fix tool will give you the added touch you need for restoring images and give them that glow and clarity that counts for each image. Remarkable DIGITAL ICE technology for both film and prints automatically removes defects erasing scratches and dust from film and fixing creases and tears on prints saving you money on costly photo retouching.
Not only does it feature image correction and enhancement technology to remove damage and improve the vibrancy of older photos, but this budget-friendly flatbed is also easy to use. In fact, you can have it up and running in under 10 minutes.
Whats also great about this tool is the sound clip feature. This sound clip will notify you when the scanning has completed a job and allow you to focus on other task.
A built-in transparency unit that accommodates slides negatives and medium format film so you scan and preserve practically any image from your photo archives.
V600 even includes ABBYY FineReader Sprint Plus optical character reader software so you can easily convert scanned documents into editable text.
Nonetheless, the bare bones operation of this Epson is for the most part clean and simple.
When you add it all up, it’s an excellent value and a more than capable device for flawlessly scanning documents, photos, and more. If you want an all-purpose flatbed scanner that won’t break the bank, the Epson Perfection V600 might be a great choice for you.
In addtion, you can reduce or even eliminate contaminents like dust particles, eliminate the appearance of scratches,tears and creases. You may lose sight of the past in your mind, but your pictures will keep those memories vivid and original using the Epson Perfection V600 scanner.
2. Canon CanoScan 9000F MKII – Best Scanner for Photos
Right up there with some of the fastest and easiest to use premium flatbed scanners we tested, it’s our top recommendation for producing digital files of photos, book pages, and just about anything else not suitable for a document scanner.
The CanoScan 9000F delivers professional quality with a spectacular color resolution for your documents and photos up to 9600 x 9600 DPI. Vibrant color depth provides up to 281 trillion possible colors for rich vivid accurate color reproduction every time you scan.
This scanner can handle up to 12 frames of 35 millimeter film both positives and negatives or 4 slide frames concurrently.
Automatic image enhancement
While most scanners produce scans that look noticeably worse than the originals, the CanoScan utilizes automatic image enhancement to prevent against loss of vibrancy and brightness. In many cases, we actually found its scanned images look even better than the originals.
On the downside, it’s a little slower than some flatbeds and a bit more expensive too. Also, the automatic image enhancement produces scans of photos that look better but are a little less faithful to the originals than the Epson V600.
Nonetheless, as far as photo scan quality goes, the popular CanoScan is tough to beat.
3. Doxie Flip – Best Portable Scanner
The Doxie Flip is cute, compact, and runs on batteries for absolute portability. Unlike many other portable scanners, which are designed to slide across documents in order to capture images, this nifty device works just like a flatbed scanner.
Keep in mind that you do not need any computer or cables attached to use it. This is purely an independent little machine that can virtually scan anything.
The lid flips up to reveal a 4×6-inch glass scanning surface. On the right side of the Flip, you’ll find the power button, scan button, and an SD card slot for easy, intuitive operation.
Meanwhile, there are five navigation buttons and a small color LCD screen up top. The latter has a handy status bar showing the battery level and number of scans remaining. If that weren’t impressive enough, the LCD display also gives a live view of what is being scanned.
Unfortunately, with the Flip’s small size comes poorer scan quality. While it has an adjustable DPI setting, which is nice, it only goes from 300 to 600 DPI.
Another drawback to its small size is it limits the items it’s capable of scanning. Unlike larger scanners, it’s not designed to scan documents, books, and the like.
However, if you already have a flatbed scanner but want something to scan business cards, index cards, pictures, stamps, and so on while out and about and on the go, it’s definitely an option worth considering.
4. Epson Perfection V550 – Best Scanner for a Heavy Workload
The V550 produces outstanding image reproduction with 6400 by 9600 DPI optical resolution allowing you to create brilliant enlargements from photos even beyond 13 by 19 inches.
Featuring a built-in transparency unit it produces high quality scans from slides negatives and even medium format panoramic film.
At the opposite end of the spectrum from the Doxie Flip, this beast of a flatbed is larger than an A3 sheet of paper and takes up substantial desktop real estate. However, when it comes to scanning, it does its job very, very well.
It also features four scan modes, including Home, Office, Full Auto, and Professional. Combined with Epson’s ReadyScan LED technology, it can scan virtually anything and makes the process easy as can be.
All things considered, the Perfection V550 provides an excellent solution for any photo or document-heavy workload. Despite its bulky size, it’s affordable, produces high-quality scans, and suitable for a variety of applications.
5. Plustek OpticSlim 2610 – Best Scanner for Books
Unlike traditional flatbed scanners, which struggle with books and other thick items, the OpticSlim makes scanning virtually anything a breeze. Just place the item on the scanner’s glass base, close the lid, press a button, and watch it work its magic.
If this weren’t impressive enough, its DocAction software allows you to scan images at up to 4800 x 4800 DPI resolution, which is pretty awesome for a scanner in its price range.
With an auto-crop function as well, the OpticSlim is designed to make slim work of any scanning task.
6. Epson Perfection V850 Pro – Best Scanner for Professional-Quality Results
Dual lens system
Not only does it provide unparalleled scans with ADV and an impressive 6400 DPI resolution, but it also features an exclusive dual lens system for optimum results regardless of what it’s scanning.
The tonal range of this pro-style Epson is also top-notch. Thanks to its use of 4.0 Dmax technology, it offers fine shadows details and smooth gradiations many other flatbeds simply can’t match.
7. CZUR ET18 PRO – Best Scanner for Large Items
The CZUR ET18 PRO has revolutionized the scanning experience by bringing to life a flatbed scanner unlike any other. Not only can it scan thick books, magazines, and every kind of paper document not exceeding A3 size, but it can do so without any need for cutting or unbinding at a whopping 1.5 seconds per page.
Incredible scanning time
Yes, you read that right. It scans items 10 times faster than traditional flatbed scanners. In fact, it can scan a 150-page book in under five miuntes! Powerful 32-bit MIPS processor provides fast scanning.
Still not impressed? Did we mention it can scan 3D objects as well? Thanks to its unique lidless design, you can use it to scan and create a digital rendering of sculptures and variety of other physical objects.
It does so by utilizing innovative side lighting. Simply lay a book or anything else underneath the camera on the glass tray, press a button, and watch it do its thing in the blink of an eye.
The CZUR’s OCR software is another nice touch. With it, you can convert scans into editable WORD and PDF formats and make adjustments right after they’re scanned.
8. Epson Perfection V39 – Best Budget-Friendly Scanner
Not only is it one of the most inexpensive and effective flatbed scanners on the market, but we were quite surprised with its performance in our testing. Despite costing much less than many other scanners on this list, we found it to produce vivid, crisp scans with minimal fuss or hassle.
The V39 offers high quality scans at 4800 DPI optical resolution capturing your photos and documents with amazing precision.
Books, photo albums and other large objects can be scanned – thanks to the V39 removable lid.
The V39 easy front panel buttons make simple jobs a breeze allowing you to quickly scan directly to email and create PDFs.
The Epson V39 is also surprisingly slim and compact, so you can place it on any desk and stash it away when not in use. Plus, it features a nifty kickstand, which allows it to stand vertically and take up even less space.
Nonetheless, its scanning times aren’t exactly the best, so if you need to scan a book, it may take a while. It also isn’t suitable for scanning film negatives.
However, the reviews speak for themselves and as far as inexpensive flatbeds go, the Epson V39 is quite simply one of the best around.
9. Xerox DocuMate 3220 Duplex – Best Scanner for Versatility and Ease of Use
Geared towards both individuals and office environments, it isn’t the fastest flatbed scanner around, but it provides a lot of bang for the buck.
The 3220 Duplex measures 17.9 x 13.2 inches and features a letter-sized flatbed as well as a 50-sheet document feeder with an ultrasonic feed detection sensor for ultimate scanning versatility.
10. Epson Perfection V19 – Best Scanner for Basic Use
If you’re on the hunt for a rock-solid flatbed scanner for basic high-resolution scanning jobs, the Epson Perfection V19 is definitely worth a look. This entry-level color scanner doesn’t produce professional quality photo scans, but it’s priced right and should serve the average individual or household quite well.
The lightweight, semi-portable flatbed scanner measures slightly larger than 8.5 x 11 inches, which means it can scan almost any document yet doesn’t take up too much desk space. It also comes with a handy kickstand, allowing it to work while standing upright and taking up less space as well.
Despite its low price, scanning with the Epson V19 is remarkably easy. Each of its four one-touch buttons allow you to scan, scan to PDF, copy, print, and share each scan with the press of a button. It even features an Easy Photo Print option, which is pretty neat, especially for a scanner at this price point.
Unlike more expensive scanners, however, it doesn’t include an OCR program, so it can’t convert scanned documents into editable text. Other than this, it can just about do it all.
If you want an all-around great flatbed for scanning photos and occasional documents, the Epson Perfection V19 may be the perfect scanner for you.
Best Flatbed Scanner Buyer’s Guide
What is a flatbed scanner?
When you envision a scanner, chances are a flatbed immediately comes to mind. Resembling the upper portion of a photocopier, a flatbed scanner features a large flat glass base and a lid. You simply lay a photo, document, business card, or anything else that will fit on the glass, close the lid, and press a button to scan the item. There’s nothing else to it.
In addition to being able to easily scan a variety of items, flatbed scanners generally offer higher resolutions than other types of scanners. While most offer a minimum DPI of 600, which is perfectly fine for scanning most photos and anything other than fine art, some have DPIs, or dots per inch, in the thousands!
Thanks to their high resolution, versatility, and ease of use, flatbed scanners are the best all-around solution for scanning albums of photos and light office use.
Is a flatbed scanner right for you?
If you need to scan photos, film, bound materials, and 3D objects, a flatbed scanner is just what you need. Just place the item to be scanned on the glass plate, close the lid overtop, press a button, and watch as it converts an image of the item into a digital format.
Sure, you can run photos, stamps, and other items through a sheet feeder, but the results may suffer and the items can be damaged. If you only need to print photos and the like every once in a blue moon, a sheet-fed document scanner with a plastic carrier may get you by, but the scan quality will likely be degraded.
With a quality flatbed scanner, however, there’s no need to worry about poor scan quality. In fact, thanks to image enhancement technology, some flatbeds produce scans that look even better than the originals.
While scanner technology continues to evolve, it does so slowly, which means flatbed scanner models tend to stay on the market for years. That being said, we regularly update our buying guides, so if you run across an “oldie but goodie,” rest assured it’s still the cream of the crop compared to similar models.
How to Buy the Right Flatbed Scanner
Okay, so you know how flatbed scanners work and have learned a little about some of today’s top options, but now it’s time to choose the right one for you and your needs.
Most flatbed scanners can handle a variety of everyday office tasks. However, there are several different types and sizes to choose from, each of which is fine-tuned for specific purposes.
Not sure which one to pick? Here are some questions to help you narrow down your options:
What items do you plan on scanning?
Knowing how often you expect to use your scanner and what you plan on scanning will help you identify any and all features you’ll need.
Most people use flatbed scanners for photos and documents. However, bound books, magazines, business cards, and film slides and negatives are also common scan items.
Since some flatbed scanners are bigger and have larger scanning surfaces than others, you should also consider the size of the originals you’ll be scanning, more on this below, as well as whether you will need to scan the front and back of document pages.
What size are the originals?
Choosing a flatbed large enough to handle the items you need to scan may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s easy to overlook when scanner shopping.
Most flatbed scanners are designed to scan documents no larger than A3 or letter size. This will be an issue if you ever need to scan larger legal-sized documents.
While most flatbeds with an ADF function are able to scan larger pages, not all flatbeds have this function and some that do can’t handle legal-sized documents.
You can find larger scanners with bigger flatbeds, but you’ll have to sacrifice some desk space, which for most is a valuable commodity that’s difficult to part with.
Do you need high resolution?
For most scanning tasks, resolution is a non-issue. In fact, for most documents, even a scan at 200 pixels per inch, or PPI, will be perfectly legible. Since nearly all flatbed scanners have a minimum PPI of 600, there’s no need to worry about resolution for document scanning.
The same is true for photos. Unless you plan on using a scan to print a larger size of a photo, 600 PPI is typically more than enough to provide a crisp, clear, and vibrant image.
That being said, some items require higher resolution. For instance, film negatives and 35mm slides, which are often scanned to print much larger versions, require greater resolution. Also, if you want to see tiny details in objects like stamps or coins, you’ll need a scanner with a PPI of 4,800 or higher.
Do you require a special-purpose scanner?
Most flatbed scanners are designed for general purposes, such as scanning photos and normal letter-size documents. Others, however, are specially designed for scanning books, business cards, and slides.
Book scanners are designed to allow the pages to lie flat, scanners for business cards and other small items are compact and portable in design, and slide scanners are smaller than flatbeds but have similar features. It’s worth noting that many of the top-quality flatbed scanners reviewed above have film and slide scanning capabilities.
What kind of software will you need?
Most flatbed scanners will work with almost any scanner program. However, if you need a scanner with a specific software included, you’ll avoid having to pay extra for it.
Depending on your needs and what you plan on scanning, you may want to look for specific software features, such as optical character recognition, photo editing, and searchable PDF functionality.
Recently, the positions of flatbed scanners have noticeably squeezed out the hordes of MFPs (multi-function printers). However, it concerns mainly inexpensive mass models designed to solve office tasks: digitization of paper documents, input of forms, text recognition, etc. If we consider the category of products aimed at advanced users, the situation here is completely different.
How many models of MFPs can you find that allow you to scan transparent originals and obtain satisfactory quality results? To count them, one hand is enough. That’s why scanners with these features are still in demand.
When shopping for a flatbed scanner, or any electronics for that matter, research is key. It’s one of those instances when putting in a little time on the front end will result in a lot less headaches on the back end.
By going over the information in this guide one more time and selecting the right scanner for you and your needs, you’ll save yourself a ton of stress and set yourself up for scanning success.