As we are moving forward to a digital world, converting old books into electronic form has become essential. The best overhead scanners reviewed here certainly prove so.
Here we talk about several overhead scanners from different budget ranges. The one that is perfect for you will depend on several factors.
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If you are not tight on budget and you are seeking the best overhead scanner overall, we recommend the CZUR ET16. It offers robust and up to date features.
On the budget spectrum we recommend iCODIS Document Camera X3. While this is an excellent document scanner, it may not be great for books due to the lack of image flatening technology.
Lastly, if you are looking for a compromise, you can settle for the mid range eloam Scanner.
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Overhead Scanner Comparison Table
16 MP (CMOS)
Auto Flattening, Trimming, Visual Presenter, Foot Pedal
Auto Flattening, Auto Page Turn Detection, Single Scan Multiple Docs,
8 MP (CMOS)
19 MP (CMOS)
Auto Flattening, Trimming, Visual Presenter, Foot Pedal
18 MP (CMOS)
Auto Flattening, Trimming, Visual Presenter, Foot Pedal. 10 GB Cloud
14 MP (CMOS)
Auto Flattening, Auto Page Turn Detection, Foot Pedal
What Are Overhead Scanners?
If you weren’t already aware, overhead scanners are designed to scan books and all other types of documents including those with odd shapes and even 3D objects.
These are excellent to be used in libraries where students need to scan pages from old and bound books. They are also great for your effort to go paperless.
Traditionally, books were scanned on flatbed scanners. However, it was a pretty tedious job. In many cases it was impossible to scan a bulky bound book since the lid of the flatbed would not have the capacity to accommodate it.
Furthermore, the results are not very accurate too on flatbed scanners as the spine of the books would result in an uneven scan.
An overhead scanner is a good choice for scanning books for two simple reasons: it produces better quality scans and it is much faster.
These scanners also come equipped with OCR technology. Meaning, the scans can later be converted into editable text files.
What is the catch? Well they are quite expensive compared to conventional flatbed scanners.
List of Best Overhead Scanners
We have chosen following as the best overhead scanners for you.
- 1CZUR ET16 Plus – Best Overhead Books Scanner – Our Choice
- 2Fujitsu ScanSnap SV600 – Loaded with Technology
- 3iCODIS Document Camera X3 – Recommended Budget Option
- 4eloam Scanner – Mid Range Overhead Scanner
- 5CZUR ET18 Pro – High Grade Camera – Advanced Overhead Scanner
- 6CZUR Aura – Affordable Quality Book Scanner – Latest and Greatest
6 Best Overhead Scanners Reviewed
Let’s have a look at some of the salient features of the selected best overhead scanners.
1. CZUR ET16 Plus – Best Overhead Books Scanner – Our Choice
- Patented Flattening Curved Book Page...
- 16MP Sony Camera, Easy and Fast: Embedded...
- Capable of scanning multiple items: Books &...
- 10 LED Lights +2 Supplemental Lights:...
CZUR ET16 takes the number 1 spot in our list. This overhead scanner is the most popular choice and for all the good reasons.
For starters, it costs less than than the Fujitsu ScanSnap SV600. Secondly, it is newer and highly up to date in terms of design and software.
On top of that, it offers a robust OCR technology that is capable of recognizing text in 187 languages. If you want to create editable text files, then this is a much better option compared to the Fujitsu SV600 below.
According to the specifications, you can scan a dual side page within 1.5 second. This is almost twice as fast as the Fujitsu ScanSnap SV600.
Like most overhead scanners, this too has the ability to flatten the output. This is crucial since books have curves. It also has the ability to crop out your fingers that you would use to hold the document in place when scanning.
Lastly, it has the capacity to scan up to A3 document size. That puts it within the wide format scanner category.
One area where this scanner excels by leaps and bound is with the software. It comes with an excellent, robust and up to date software that is easy to use. No other scanner in this list can say the same.
Compared to Fujitsu ScanSnap V600, it lacks two crucial technologies. Firstly, it does not have the ability to scan multiple items at once.
Secondly, it does not have auto page turning detection technology. You would have to press the scan button or use the foot pedal each time you turn the page on the book.
While it does lack in some aspects, when it comes to quality, popularity and reliability, this is the best overhead scanner for books and other documents. We highly recommend it.
2. Fujitsu ScanSnap SV600 – Loaded with Technology
- Easily scan newspapers, magazines, documents...
- Multi Document Detection function enables you...
- Auto Book Correction that automatically...
- Fingers captured during the scanning can be...
When it comes to overhead scanners, Fujitsu ScanSnap SV600 is a fairly respected scanner due to a few highly useful technologies that it harbors.
While it is more expensive than the CZUR ET16, it does have few technologies up its sleeve that make the price justifiable.
If you a huge volume of books and odd documents that need scanning, then this is something worth investing in.
For starters it offers a very simple approach to scanning documents; you can start the scanning process with a touch of button.
While this is an optimal scanner for books and magazines, it also has the capacity to scan 10 individual items side by side. This is great for scanning documents like multiple receipts, multiple business cards and an assortment of documents at once. Its software will detect each of the 10 items as separate documents.
When it comes to scanning books and magazines, it offers three very useful technologies. Firstly, it has auto page turning detection technology. This technology truly makes this an excellent deal as it can seriously accelerate the process of digitizing a book.
Secondly, like the CZUR ET16, its software allows you to remove the fingers from the scanned documents. So basically, the fingers that will be holding the pages in place when scanning can be removed via the software.
Thirdly, it offers image correction technology. With this you can flatten a scan of the book. The scans of books bulge from the center due to the spine. This technology allows you to flatten the bulge.
Lastly, this is technically a wide format scanner. It can scan documents of up to A3 in size. Conventional flatbed scanners are limited to scanning only A4 size documents.
Specs wise, this overhead scanner can scan at the speed of about 3 second per A3 sized document and has a maximum DPI of 600 color and 1200 Monochrome.
One of the biggest drawback is that it does not come with a robust OCR software. You have to use third party software to create editable text files from the scanned documents.
Other than that, note that this is not a scanner for professional artists and graphic designers despite the costly price tag. It serves an entirely different purpose.
If you are brand conscious, then this is certainly is one of the best overhead scanners. It is old and therefore tried and tested.
3. iCODIS Document Camera X3 – Recommended Budget Option
- [Powerful Basic Functions and Software]The...
- [A Multipurpose Viewer]The dual modes of...
- [NOT COMPATIBLE WITH MAC]The software for...
- [Excellent Design]The iCODIS document reader...
Despite being a budget overhead scanner, it has received almost flawless reviews from its customers.
If you want an overhead scanner that costs less than half as much as the CZUR ET16, then this would truly interest you.
Who is this scanner for? Well, this scanner is great for flat documents and objects. It has a fairly decent 8 mega pixel camera and the scan results are highly accurate.
Unfortunately, while this scanner CAN scan books fairly easily, it does not have the auto flattening functionality. This means that the curvature in the center of the scanned book pages will be shown on the output.
If you can live with that, then this is a great book scanner as well.
However, for flat media like documents, sheets, cards etc, this is one of the best overhead scanners thanks to its highly affordable price tag.
It can scan upto A3 documents size and has decent algorithms to optimize the scanning results. For starters, it has an excellent OCR software with multiple language recognition.
Furthermore, it offers features like finger cropping from the scanned results, automatic image correction that detects the correct orientation of the scanned document and also filling of damaged and ripped documents.
All in all, for budget users, this is one of the best overhead scanners hands down.
4. eloam Scanner – Mid Range Overhead Scanner
This is a mid range overhead scanner. It costs more than the iCODIS X3 and a lot less than the Fujitsu SV600 or the CZUR ET16.
So why go for this overhead scanner? Well, since this is a mid range overhead scanner, it is basically a compromise.
Compared to the Budget iCODIS X3, this is more advanced since it has the capacity to efficiently scan books and also has the curve flattening technology. This is something that iCODIS X3 lacks.
On the other hand, compared to the top of the line scanners like the CZUR ET16, it lacks the quality despite having a high end 18 Mega Pixel Camera. Furthermore, it also uses a substandard software compared to the high end options.
Other than that, it offers all the useful features like OCR technology, fingerprint cropping feature and background purification.
We would recommend this scanner if you have books to scan but do not have a high budget. On the other hand, if you do not care much for books, then iCODIS X3 is a great cheaper option.
For those looking for mid range option, this is one of the best overhead scanners.
5. CZUR ET18 Pro – High Grade Camera – Advanced Overhead Scanner
- Patented Flattening Curved Book Page...
- 18MP Sony Camera, Easy and Fast: Embedded...
- A3 & A4 Applicable: ET18 Pro is friendly to...
- Supplementary Lightning: 2 High-Quality...
CZUR ET18 Pro has almost the same features as the CZUR ET16 Plus listed above. However, it differentiates itself with a few added advanced features.
Firstly, the ET16 has a 16 Mega pixel whereas the ET18 Pro has an 18 mega pixel camera giving it a much higher resolution and a higher DPI.
Secondly, it extends the connectivity by offering Wi-Fi capability. Therefore, you can transfer the scanned results remotely to a PC in your network.
Thirdly, it enhances the storage features. Not only does it have the ability to store 150 sheets in its storage, it also allows you to have 10 GB for cloud storage for free.
Other than that, it shares the same features as well as the form factor as the ET16.
Unfortunately, it still lacks the automatic page turning detection feature that the Fujistsu SV600 offers.
6. CZUR Aura – Affordable Quality Book Scanner – Latest and Greatest
- Proprietary Technology:“Book Curve...
- Fast Scanning Speed+Supplemental Side Lights:...
- Auto-Detect Page Turn and Auto...
- Multifunctional Desk Lamp： 4 color modes...
One of the latest overhead books scanners to have hit the market is the CZUR Aura.
CZUR has already established itself as the premium overhead scanners brands. Their ET line of scanners mentioned above is already critically acclaimed.
The CZUR Aura is basically for the budget oriented.
It offers a lower quality CMOS sensor as compared to the CZUR ET scanners, however, it also costs much cheaper.
Compared to 16 MP as seen on CZUR ET16, the Aura offers a 14 MP camera. Also unlike the ET18 Pro, it lacks WiFi or cloud support.
However, it does include a technology that ET series lacks: auto page turn detection. This can make your scanner so much simpler.
Besides that it also includes all the sweet features such a foot pedal, auto flattening, finger removing feature and other convenient features.
It also doubles as a desk lamp.
Unfortunately, it does not include a visual presenter like the ET series.
All in all, if you want an affordable high quality option from a respectable brand, this is one of the best overhead scanners.
People Also Ask (FAQs)
How Does an Overhead Scanner Work?
The overhead scanner used high-resolution line cameras and a moving light bar from powerful LEDs. In overhead scanners line, optical system, and illumination are combined into one light that moves over the document as a single unit.
It used CCD sensors for capturing the details over the pages. CCD (Charged Couple Device) is a type of image sensors found in digital cameras. It uses the actual camera lens for reducing the image onto the imaging sensors.
What is Auto Flatten Option in Overhead Scanners?
Bound books do not have a flat surface, especially when opened into the middle. When placed under overhead scanner they have curved position and create the same results.
For curved books, the auto flattens option removes the curve from the scanning results and present them as flat documents that are more presentable and easy to read.
Note that not all overhead scanner have this feature. While the higher end models do offer it, when you are going for lower end models this feature may be lacking.
What are the Benefits of Overhead Scanners?
Some of the benefits of Overhead scanners are as following.
Great for Educational Notes
It is great for taking notes for your research papers, essays, or other university assignments.
You may need to consult many books and scanning the specific pages can help you prepare notes that are easy to retrieve, and you can save the references conveniently.
Essential for Libraries
Overhead scanners are essential especially for public or university libraries where they need to scan a lot of pages from books.
Some of these books are too old and bound with thick covers. Placing them on flatbed scanners is simply not a good option.
The overhead scanner is a useful investment if your work involves creating eBooks. The speedy scanner with a lot of image correcting techniques can help in creating a digital library.
In this article we had a look at some of the best overhead scanners in the market. Although there are plenty more products to choose from, the ones reviewed here have won the most favorable reviews.
It should be noted that while overhead scanning technology is not new, it has recently started gaining traction. CZUR brand seems to be on top of this scanning category with their relative new ET and Aura book scanner series.
Besides that, Fujitsu ScanSnap SV600 has been in the market for a fairly long time and is one of the most reliable and well known book scanner.
Unfortunately, the AAA category brands like Epson, HP, Canon etc are missing from the overhead scanners category.
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.