Quick Navigation Bar:
It’s true that all scanners “capture images from paper”, however, not all scanners are equal. Asides from the fact that most modern scanners are based on the same concept, they can vary significantly. Things scanned image quality, ease of use and portability make a significant difference.
A scanner that outputs excellent quality images but isn’t portable enough for your needs won’t be any good. Knowing how and where you will use the scanner are always the first step in getting one that’s right for you.
Even when you’re buying a portable scanner, there many factors that come into play asides from portability. In fact, choosing a portable scanner that’s a good fit for your need is trickier than choosing a traditional scanner. There are just so many things to look for in a portable can the features can vary a lot. You might also be interested in our articles about the best portable projector and the best portable printer.
Even though all the scanners on our list are top-tier gadgets, not all of them are right for you. When you’re making your choice, the following are the top things that you need to keep in mind in order to get the right portable scanner.
1. Power Supply Type
The power supply type is a very important thing to consider when you’re buying a new portable scanner. Unlike portable non-portable scanners which get their power from a normal power socket, portable scanners have different options.
The first power option that’s available for this portable scanner is the USB cable. Those scanners are connected to a laptop/computer via a USB cable which they use to get the power they need to operate. Naturally, this means that you need to have a laptop or any other power source that the USB can connect to in order to be able to use the scanner. If you think this might be a problem, then obviously these scanners aren’t for you. You’re probably better off with the second type.
The second type of power source for portable scanners is the good old-fashioned batteries. As these scanners rely on rechargeable batteries for power, they can be carried around with fewer restrictions. This makes this type more convenient for some people. This portability doesn’t come without a downside though.
Relying on batteries means you have to remember to charge them all the time. If this is ok with you, battery-powered scanners definitely have an edge in terms of portability.
2. Scanning Accuracy
Scanner accuracy is measured in dpi (dots per inch). The number of dpi indicates how many dots are scanned by the scanner to represent one square inch. Of course, the more the dpi the more accurate the scanner is.
Typically, a normal scanner won’t have less than 300 dpi. You can think of that as the benchmark for scanning documents with a decent quality. However, if you plan to scan more detail-rich things like images, you should consider buying a scanner with a dpi of 600 or even 1200. Of course, this level of accuracy comes with a price.
Knowing the type of documents that you want to scan before you actually make a purchase will keep you from spending money on features you don’t need or worse, getting a scanner that’s not up to the intended task.
3. Size and Portability
It’s true and kind of makes sense that all portable scanners are portable. However, the degree of portability can vary greatly from one scanner to the other. Are you looking for a scanner to fit in a backpack or in your pocket? Both are portable, however, one is right for you and the other isn’t.
Before you buy a portable printer, take a minute to think about the different daily use scenarios that you’re likely to encounter. After that, the portability level that you need will be clear for you.
Now that you’re familiar with what to look for when buying a new portable scanner, it’s time to have a look at the best ones that the market has to offer.
Best Buy Portable Scanner
This portable scanner from Doxie strikes the perfect balance between portability and performance. Thanks to its small size and rechargeable batteries, this scanner can easily go wherever you go. Another great feature of this portable scanner is the fact that it has WiFi connectivity.
As you can choose to connect to the scanner via the USB cable or WiFi, you don’t have to always carry the cable around, which is an added perk in terms of portability. Not having to carry an additional cable around with you is definitely an upside of this portable scanner.
The Doxie GO SE also has a large internal memory that can store up to 4,000 scanned documents before needing to sync them. When you’re using this scanner on the go, all you have to do is scan the documents you need without worrying about putting them on a computer or cloud storage. You can easily do that later.
To make using the Doxie Go SE even more convenient, the company has included a Windows and Mac OS app. By using this app, you can easily sync your scanned documents to other devices or to the cloud storage service of choice. Supported platforms include Dropbox, OneNote, Evernote and iCloud.
As this scanner has a 600 dpi scan quality, it’s definitely good enough for more than just text-based documents. Pictures can be scanned at a very decent quality using this portable scanner.
- 600 dpi
- Can connect via WiFi
- Great Windows and Mac OS apps
- Can store up to 4,000 scanned documents in its memory
- Compatible with many cloud-based storage solutions
Weighing less than 1 lb and measuring less than 12 inches in length, the Brother DS-620 takes portability to a whole new level. Asides from its impressive lightweight and compact size, this portable scanner packs an impressive performance.
When scanning black and white documents, this scanner is capable of scanning up to 8 documents per minutes. Considering the fact that this is an ultra-compact portable scanner, 8 documents per minutes is a very impressive number. Things like receipts and text-based documents can be scanned really quickly on the go using this portable scanner.
Another great feature that makes this scanner really stand out from the competition is the scanning software suite that comes with it. The software package that comes with this scanner (Nuance PaperPort 12 SE, Presto! BizCard and Button Manager V2) make using the scanner much easier and much more efficient.
For example, you can use the scanner’s software to scan documents and images directly to preset locations. Whether you’re saving documents to your PC, cloud storage or sending them directly to the printer, the Brother DS-620 has got you covered. The Presto! BizCard software allows you to export scanned business card information directly to Microsoft Outlook, which is a huge time saver.
The only take that we have on this scanner is the fact that it needs a computer to operate. Compare to the other WiFi battery-based models, it’s a bit restricting in terms of flexibility. However, if you’re looking for a portable scanner that can keep up with your business needs, this one won’t leave you disappointed.
- Great software bundle
- Fast scanning speed
- Great for business users
Best Portable Printer Scanner
If you loved the Brother DS-620D but want something that is more capable, the DS-720D model is what you’re looking for. In addition to all the great features of the 620, this model has an awesome feature: duplex scanning. If you’re a person who scans 2-sided documents all the time, this feature can make a huge difference.
As you’ll only need to scan a 2-sided document once, this printer can scan this type of documents twice as fast when compared to scanners that don’t have the duplex scanning feature. If you scan things like cards all the time, you’ll definitely love this feature.
Having the same length and weighing a mere 1.1 lbs. makes this printer as portable as the previous model. Thanks to the same software bundle that comes with the DS-620D, you can have the same level of control and convenient features.
Just like in the 620D model, this model is powered via a USB cable. This means that unless a computer is there, you won’t be able to use the scanner. Whether you find this an inconvenience or not depends on your type of use. If you carry a laptop with you all the time, this won’t be a problem at all.
- Lightweight and portable
- Duplex scanning feature
- Great software bundle
- Fast scanning at 8 ppm
Best Portable Document Scanner
Despite being a portable scanner, the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX100 is a powerful device. If you’re looking for a portable scanner that is capable of producing some truly stunning results, the iX100 is what you’re looking for.
As it weighs just 0.88 pounds, the ScanSnap iX100 is very portable. However, there are other features that make this scanner truly shine. First of all, it has a built-in processor for enhancing images. This means that as soon as a document or picture is scanned it is enhanced on the spot, without having to do this on a computer.
Since you can use this scanner’s WiFi capabilities to scan things on the go and send them directly to a preset location without having to go through a computer first, this feature is very helpful. You scan high-quality images, enhance them and send them directly from the scanner, which results in a truly portable experience.
This scanner is capable of scanning documents at 600 dpi. As this scanning accuracy works side by side with the scanner’s processor, the results are very crisp and clear scans. One of the most deal-breaking features that this portable scanner has in terms of productivity is multiple scanning.
By using this feature, you can scan multiple documents side by side. As long as they fit the scanner, you can place two documents next to each other and scan each one separately in the same period. If you need to scan many documents, this feature can save you lots of time and make the scanning process a whole lot easier.
- Excellent build quality
- Weighs only 0.88 lbs.
- Image-enhancing processor
- 600 dpi scan quality
- Can scan multiple documents at the same time
The Docie Q is a portable scanner that favors features and performance over portability. Don’t get us wrong though, at 1.81 pounds, carrying this thing around won’t be a problem for most people. However, when compared to other scanners that weigh less than one pound, this scanner is definitely heavy.
The added weight and size of this portable scanner isn’t for nothing. This scanner has a collapsible automatic paper feeder. If you’re scanning a large number of documents, this feeder will make your life a whole lot easier. All you have to do is put the documents in the feeder, start the scanner and it’ll take care of the rest.
In terms of performance, the Doxie Q has everything that you’d expect from a premium portable scanner. With its 300/600 dpi accuracy, the scanned images are as clear as they could possibly be. Thanks to having a large rechargeable battery, this scanner can scan up to 1,000 images with one charge.
Having a dedicated iOS apps make using this portable scanner without a laptop super convenient. All you have to do is pair the printer with the app and you can control all the features without having a computer in the entire process.
- Excellent battery life
- Collapsible paper feeder
- WiFi connectivity
- Dedicated iOS app
This Fujitsu portable scanner is one of the heavy-duty performers on our list. Having a paper feeder means that this scanner sacrifices some portability in favor of performance. Asides from the size of this scanner, it has many features that make it suitable for the most demanding users.
In terms of scanning quality, this portable scanner scans with an accuracy of up to 600 dpi. Despite being fairly decent, it’s on par with most portable scanners on our list so there is nothing particularly impressive there. What’s impressive though is the scanning speed of the Fujitsu ScanSnap.
With a scanning speed of up to 12 papers per minutes, this scanner is definitely fast. As this scanner supports duplex scanning, this speed is maintained even when scanned 2-sided documents. If you scan a large number of 2-sided documents on a regular basis, this scanner is a life saver.
Another great feature of this scanner is the OCR technology. After files are scanned and transformed into PDFs, this technology allows you to search the contents of these documents. This feature is priceless if you need to find a small piece of information in a large pile of paper.
All you have to do is scan them and you’ll be able to find everything that you’re looking for. The only downside of this scanner that it needs is a USB cable to operate. Other than that, it’s one of the best available choices on the market.
- Automatic document feeder
- Fast scanning speed
- Supports OCR technology
- Duplex scanning
Best Portable Scanner For Mac
If you like the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300i but prefer something more portable, the Fujitsu ScanScanp S1100i is what you’re looking for. In a nutshell, the ScanSnap S1100i is the same as the S1300i, minus the duplex scanning and the automatic paper feeder.
Other than these two features which require size all the other features that you love about the bigger model are available here. The scanning quality is the same at 600 dpi, which provides top-tier scanning quality.
Creating searchable PDFs from a scan is also available in the ScanSnap S1100i. As the OCR technology is supported, creating searchable PDFs is a simple and easy process. You can also create editable MS Word files form the scans, which is very useful for editing the scanned documents. This scanner can also scan documents as small as an inch, which makes it excellent for scanning small documents like receipts.
Being compatible with both Windows and Mac OS makes this scanner flexible for use with most computers. However, having to use a USB connection to operate the scanner can be kind of limiting. Other scanners that have a battery are more superior in terms of portability and suitability for different use situations.
- Small size and portable
- Compatible with Windows and Mac OS
- 600 dpi scanning quality
- Supports OCR technology
The wand-style scanner from VuePoint solutions can be used in two completely different ways. When the wand is docked, this scanner can be used just like any normal paper feeder scanner. Once the wand is removed, it’s a completely different story.
By using the wand separately, you can scan documents as if you were highlighting something on a piece of paper with a marker. Just pass the wand scanner on the text and you’re done. With a weight of just 1.44 lbs. this scanner is also among the lightest available models, which makes it convenient for carrying around.
Asides from the unique scanning modes, this scanner has many features that make it really stand out. With a scanning quality of a whopping 1200 dpi, this is one of the most accurate portable scanners available on the market. Such a high dpi results in extremely detailed scanned even for complex images.
To make using this portable scanner even more convenient on the go, it has a rechargeable battery that can last for up to 400 scans without requiring a recharge. This scanner also supports microSD cards up to 32 GBs, so you won’t have to worry about running out of memory if you’re using this model without a computer.
The best thing about the wand mode is that you can use it for scanning virtually any flat surface. Unlike traditional scanners that are limited to scanning paper, you can scan everything from bills to patterns on a piece of fabric that you like, which makes this scanner a really flexible choice.
- Stunning 1200 dpi scanning quality
- Wand and traditional scanner modes
- Can be used for scanning any flat surface with want mode
- Supports microSD cards up to 32GB