Flatbed scanners are the most common types of scanners in the market. The best part about these scanners is that they are highly versatile both in functionality as well as in price range.
They can be found at a price ranging from less than $100 to over a $1,000 for professionals.
Whether you are looking for a budget scanner for casual needs or whether you are looking for a studio grade professional scanner, the choice here is vast.
Here we will look at the best flatbed scanners from various price ranges.
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Flatbed Scanner Comparison Table
Budget Document Scanner
USB Type C
Budget Photo Scanner
USB Type A
Office Scanner (ADF)
USB Type A
Portable Scanner (Battery Operated)
USB Type A
Benefits Of A Flatbed Scanner
For starters, flatbed scanner, compared to ADF, wand or other type of scanners, offer the most DPI at a certain price range.
In addition to that, they also offer much higher Dmax. Therefore, the resulting output quality of a flatbed scanner is much higher.
Furthermore, flatbed scanners are ideal for scanning delicate documents, photos, artwork, or vintage photographs. These scanners do not require the movement of document and capture all the details with absolute clarity.
The scanners are fully equipped to scan thick papers, cards, or other oddly shaped papers.
Unfortunately though, flatbed scanners are only as fast as the user. Since most do not have an ADF, they do not allow for batch scanning.
As such, flatbed scanners are not ideal for a large office use. They are ideal for personal or professional graphics/photo studio needs.
List of Best Flatbed Scanners
We have selected these scanners as best Flatbed scanners.
Let’s look at these scanners in detail.
5 Best Flatbed Scanners Reviewed
1. Canon CanoScan 400 – Recommended Budget Flatbed Scanner – Document Scanner
- Enjoy high speed scanning in as fast as 8...
- Preserve detailed photos and images thanks to...
- Enjoy ease of use with 'EZ' Buttons. With...
- Paper size: 8.27 x 11.69, 8.50 x 11.69
If you are looking for a budget scanner then we highly recommend that you check out this particular piece from Canon. The scanner has not only won favorable reviews from its customers, but also from experts.
This is a simple to use scanner with a minimalist design and slim form factor. It is slim and thus has a small footprint. It even comes with a kickstand in case if you want to position it upright.
Besides that, one of the most lucrative feature it offers is a USB type C connectivity. This is still something new in the scanner market and not all scanners offer this. Sure you can use adapters, but having a USB Type C from the get go is quite user friendly.
Furthermore, the scanner has a decent 4800 DPI – which is normal for all budget flatbed scanners. On top of that it comes with photo correction features such as dust removal.
While this scanner has a flatbed size of A4/Letter size. You can use its stitch feature to scan larger documents. With this you basically scan multiple folded images of a large document. The software then automatically combines or “stitches” the multiple scans into a single coherent document.
In a nutshell, this is a document scanner. Since scanning text does not require a high DPI, high Dmax, or robust optics technology, an affordable scanner is the way to go. However, if you want to scan photos and you want a more specialized option, then we recommend that you look into the next scanner.
All in all, if you are looking for an affordable option, then we highly recommend this as one of the best flatbed scanners.
However, there is one thing that you must note and that is, you get what you pay for. This is a budget scanner and therefore do not expect studio grade photo scans.
Also Read: Best High Speed Scanner
2. Epson Perfection V600 – Recommended All Rounder Flatbed Scanner
- Create extraordinary enlargements from film:...
- Remove the appearance of dust and scratches...
- Remove the appearance of tears and creases...
- Restore faded color photos with one touch:...
We consider this as an all rounder scanner because not only is it budget friendly, it offers fairly high quality output as well.
This scanner is larger and bulkier than the Canon CanoScan 400 above. However, it is far more specialized in photo scanning.
For starters, this scanner has a DPI of 6400. Therefore, image enlargement won’t be an issue. Furthermore, it offers a fairly decent Dmax of 3.4.
The top of the line flatbed scanner offers a Dmax of 4.0 but they are multiple times more expensive than this. Therefore, to get 3.4 Dmax at this price range along with a fairly high DPI is appreciable.
Another very lucrative feature about this scanner is that it can scan 35mm negative films as well. The scanner comes with built in transparency unit that can hold and scan your old 35mm negatives.
Therefore, not only is this scanner great for personal needs, it is also a fairly affordable studio grade scanner.
Finally, the scanner comes with multiple software including the famous Epson Digital ICE software that can enhance your photos as well as your negative films.
In the end, if you want a somewhat specialized scanner for photos, then we recommend this as one of the best flatbed scanners.
3. HP ScanJet Pro 2500 F1 – Flatbed Scanner with Sheetfed ADF
- Boost productivity with fast, versatile...
- Scan pages up to 8.5 x 122 inches (21.6 cm x...
- Don't wait for warm-up—instant-on...
- Sharp images and powerful editing tools....
This is a highly versatile scanner and highly suited for office use. It is more expensive than an average scanner but for all the right reasons.
Basically, this is a flatbed scanner with an Automatic Document Feeder (ADF). As such, you can not only use the flatbed scanner for photos or for delicate documents, you can use the ADF for batch scanning jobs as well.
The ADF has the capacity to hold 50 documents at a time and the ADF can scan at the speeds of 40 images per minute.
Additionally, the ADF has single pass duplex mechanism and therefore it can scan both sides of the document in a single go.
Of course an ADF is mostly useful in an office environment. However, if you are home user wanting to go paperless, then this is can serve as a versatile tool for you.
Unfortunately, the scanner does have one drawback. The ADF scanner has max DPI of 600 whereas the flatbed has a DPI of 1200.
This is far lower than even the budget flatbed scanner like the Canon CanoScan 400 above. However, again, you must note that a higher DPI is only essential if you plan to make enlargement of your images or if you plan to zoom into the minute details for editing purposes.
Still, if you are professional photographer, we would not recommend this to you. Instead, we recommend this for small offices.
As far as the versatility goes, this scanner sure offers that with its flatbed and ADF. Therefore, it definitely deserves a sport here in this list of best flatbed scanners.
4. Doxie Flip – Cordless Flatbed Scanner – Portable
- Scan your story with Doxie Flip, the...
- Doxie is lightweight and portable – about...
- A unique removable lid lets you flip Doxie...
- Doxie is built for capturing your history and...
Doxie Flip is a peculiar little machine that we just had to mention in this list. While this is a flatbed scanner in the traditional sense, its uniqueness cannot be ignored.
While the rest of the flatbed scanners here have a flatbed size of A4/letter size, this only has a size of 4×6″ (A6) which is the average size of a photograph.
What truly separates this, however, from the rest is not its small size, but its portability features. This is small and compact scanner that is battery powered.
On top of that, it comes with a built in SD card slot so you don’t have to connect this scanner to a computer for scanning at all. You can scan on the fly. In case if you do not have an SD card lying around, it also comes with a 4 GB SD card.
Finally, another highly lucrative feature on this is that the white lid on top of this is detachable. Once you detach the lid, you can technically use this scanner as a wand scanner. You can put the scanner on any surface or object and press the scan button.
Since this scanner can easily fit on your hands, you can scan almost anything with it.
Of course this scanner would not appeal to all. This isn’t your typical document scanner. However, due to its portability and its ability to be used as a wand scanner, we find this to be one of the best flatbed scanners.
Also Read: Best Wand Scanners
5. Epson Perfection V850 – Recommended Professional Flatbed Scanner
- Pro quality color & detail - get unparalleled...
- Remarkable tonal range - 4.0 Dmax for smooth...
- Exclusive dual lens system - selects from 2...
- Operating systems: Windows 8.1, Windows 8,...
Finally here we have the most expensive scanner in this list. Be warned that this can put a serious dent in your wallet and we recommend this only for studio or professionals who expect a positive return from their investment.
With that said, this is a cream of the crop from Epson. It is a top quality scanner that really is in a class of its own.
This is a scanner that only pro artists, enthusiasts and photographers would find use for.
For starters, the scanner has a top of the line Dmax of 4.0. Generally, it doesn’t get better than this for Flatbed scanners.
Higher Dmax than 4.0 is expected only on drum scanners and those machines are large and very expensive.
A higher Dmax means that scanner would be able to capture the most amount of colors, shadow details, tonal variations, hues from the picture.
On top of that to make sure that no stone is left un-turned when it comes to capturing details, this scanner also offers one of the best optical technology.
Firstly it comes with Dual Lens system. One lens has a DPI of 4800 and the other has a DPI of 6400. The scanner automatically chooses what is best for you.
Secondly, it comes with a high pass optics which is a premium technology that captures the minutest of details from the photos.
Also while there are plenty of premium scanners that offer a much higher DPI, you should not be put off by the 6400 max DPI on this.
It is not the DPI that makes the photo quality great. Instead, it is the optical technology and sensors utilized in the scanner that makes the difference.
Moreover, being a premium scanner, this is a complete package for negative film scanning as well. The scanner can scan all sorts of negative films including 5mm, Medium Format (6 x 20 cm), and 3″ x 5″ frame. It also comes with all relevant transparency units.
In the end, this is a high end premium scanner that only the specific niche of people would find use of. Obviously this is not something that you would use for mere document scanning.
However, if you are a professional studio and you want to satisfy your customers with quality of your scans, then we highly recommend this as one of the best flatbed scanners for you.
People Also Ask (FAQs)
Advantages of Flatbed Scanners
Some of the advantages of flatbed scanners are discussed here:
Though resolution varies from the scanner to scanner but generally Flatbed scanners are high-end scanners that produce excellent scans of documents or photographs.
The flatbed can be used to scan documents of varying sizes. ADF or sheetfed scanners can handle documents 8.5×14 inches document while some flatbed scanner even offers to scan 12×17 inch document.
A flatbed doesn’t require moving document and therefore is perfect for old and worn out documents that you cannot risk putting through a feeder. Flatbed scanners are ideal for scanning delicate and vintage photographs.
Scanning from Books or Magazines
Flatbed scanners are excellent for scanning books or magazines. It does not require loose paper as a sheetfed scanner, and you can even remove the lid if it cannot be closed.
Flatbed scanners work great for artwork. They can handle large format papers like sketches, canvas paper, or watercolor paintings.
Even if you have canvas paper that cannot fit on its glass panel, you can scan your paintings in parts and then combine the parts into one whole through digital stitching.
Many advanced flatbed scanners like HP ScanJet, or Epson Perfection V600, or V800 offers auto stitching option for automatically stitching different parts of an artwork.
Only a flatbed scanner offers the ability to scan the 3D objects, and you can scan textures, patterns, or other artwork. It would practically scan anything that can be laid on its surface.
Disadvantages of a Flatbed scanner
While flatbed scanners are great for photos, delicate documents, home use and for occasional scanning, they do have a few disadvantages.
They are not the fastest scanners. Unlike the Sheetfed scanners, they are slow and not really suited for environment that require a lot of scanning on a daily basis.
While flatbed scanners like HP ScanJet Pro 2500 F1 with an ADF are an exception, an average flatbed scanner lacks the speed for large office work needs.
If you are looking for scanning speed then check out high speed scanners.
Flatbed scanner require a lot of manual work. You have to scan each and every document individually.
If you want to scan both sides of a document, that just increases your work by two-fold. Only a few scanners like HP ScanJet Pro 2500 F1 allow for batch scanning. Unfortunately such flatbed scanners are expensive.
No Duplex Scanning
Even the best flatbed scanners that cost more than $500 do not offer double sided scanning. This is an issue if you have a large scanning volume.
Most flatbed scanners are large and bulky and therefore it is impossible to carry them around with you.
Again, there are exceptions like the Doxie Flip, however, these are rare and do not have a high image quality.
If you are looking for ultimate portable, check out the wand scanners.
Flatbed scanners are the most intuitive and familiar scanners out there. They are easy to understand and fairly easy to operate.
The best flatbed scanners range all the way from budget to high performance. Therefore, the best one depends upon your use and your budget.
Flatbed scanners generally have a much higher image quality than their same budget sheetfed or wand scanner counterparts.
On the budget range, they are most suited for home use as well as for amateur photographers. On the expensive side of the price spectrum, they are suited for professional photographers and designers.
Andrew White is the founder of TechGearoid, a leading technology review & information website that is designed to help consumers make better decisions when it comes to their IT purchases. As a specialist tech writer (nerd) with over 10 years of experience, he enjoys writing about everything there is to do with modern technology & the newest market innovations. When he isn’t providing value for his readers, he’s usually drinking coffee or at the beach. Andrew lives in Sydney, Australia with his wife and family.