Scanners

5 Best Scanners for Going Paperless

Best Scanners for Going PaperlessIn this age of technology if you haven’t yet gone paperless then its high time you think about it and start planning.

To help you with that, we have selected the best scanners for going paperless here.

TLDR;

We find the HP ScanJet Pro 2500 f1 as the best option for going paperless. It has both Sheetfed ADF mechanism as well as Flatbed scanning capability. However, if you do not care much for flatbed and if you want speed, we recommend the Epson WorkForce ES-400.

Why Go Paperless?

Gone are the days of attics filled with important documents covering your precious space when they can easily be digitized and are just a click away.

Going paperless has too many benefits like:

• Finding a digital document is much easier.
• Reduces off-site storage cost.
• Documents are preserved forever, no risk of fading with time.
• Records are managed more professionally.
• It is Eco-friendly.

Buying a scanner is one of the most important steps towards going paperless.

List of Best Scanners for Going Paperless

We have selected the following scanners that would make your task of going paperless easier. They are different in their own regard.

  1. HP ScanJet Pro 2500 f1 – Versatile and Recommended Scanner for Going Paperless
  2. Epson WorkForce Es-400 – Fast and Robust SheetFed Scanner
  3. Doxie Go SE – Portable and Mobile
  4. Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300i – Compact Scanner with ADF
  5. CZUR ET16 Plus – Book & Document Scanner – A3 Scanning

Short Reviews

Let’s take a brief look at the selected best scanners for going paperless.

1. HP ScanJet Pro 2500 f1 – Versatile and Recommended Scanner for Going Paperless

HP scanjet pro 2500This is our most recommended scanner for going paperless. The HP Scanjet 2500 combines the function of a flatbed scanner along with a sheetfed mechanism.

Traditionally, you can either get a sheetfed scanner like the Epson WorkForce ES-400 or you can get a simple flatbed scanner. The HP Scanjet 2500 combines both.

The sheetfed mechanism comes with 50 sheet Automatic Document Feeder that is capable of single pass duplex printing. This means that the scanner can scan both sides of the document in one go.

Besides that, the flatbed scanner can scan up to legal size documents. It is excellent for business card, delicate documents and for scanning book pages.

Furthermore, the scanner has the capacity to scan up to 20 pages per minute (ppm) and 40 Images per Minute (ipm). This is reasonably fast. It isn’t the fastest around, but its versatility makes this a lucrative deal.

The only drawback of this scanner is that it lacks robust connectivity options. It LACKS WiFi or Bluetooth connectivity.

If you want the WiFi cable network variant, you can look into HP ScanJet Pro 4500 fn1. Unfortunately, this scanner is super expensive and may not be worth it.

Besides that, it has the necessary features like OCR for creating editable scanned files, and the ability to scan directly to cloud software like Google Drive and Dropbox.

All in all, if you want both flatbed and sheetfed mechanism in a scanner, then for us, this is one of the best scanner for going paperless.

Check Out the Latest Price Here.

Good
  • Has a Flatbed as well as ADF for both quick scanning as well as delicate scanning
  • Can Scan to Cloud software like Dropbox
  • Has the ability to scan business cards, envelopes and greeting cards as well
Bad
  • Does not offer WiFi or Bluetooth Scanning functionality – However, the more expensive variant such as HP ScanJet Pro 4500 fn1 offer WiFi
  • Has a Duty Cycle of 1500 pages per day only – not suitable for larger organizations
  • Prone to misfeeds. To minimize misfeeds, you’ll need to get the expensive variants.

Learn more about the best flatbed scanners with ADF here.

2. Epson WorkForce Es-400 – Fast and Robust SheetFed Scanner

Epson WorkForce ES-400This is one of the most popular sheetfed scanners with an automatic document feeder.

If you have a ton of loose sheets that need to be digitized then this is highly reasonable.

This scanner is basically designed for environments that have a huge scanning volume on a daily basis. This may include receipts, business cards, documents etc.

While this isn’t super expensive, it may not be reasonable for all basic home users. The obvious draw back it has is that it does NOT have a flatbed scanning capability. Therefore, book, magazine, and thicker sheets would be impossible to scan.

However, what truly sets this scanner apart is the scanning speed. This scanner can scan at a whopping 35 ppm and 70 ipm. This is almost double the speed of HP ScanJet Pro 2500 f1.

Besides that, it also has a 50 sheet Automatic Document Feeder with single pass duplex scanning.

Unfortunately, like the HP ScanJet Pro 2500 above, this too lacks WiFi and Network capability. If you want the WiFi/network capable option, then you can go for Epson WorkForce ES-500W. This is marginally more expensive.

If you have large scanning volume or if you have an attic full of documents that need to be digitized, then this is one of the best scanners for going paperless.

Check Out the Latest Price Here.

Good
  • An extremely fast scanner for larger organizations
  • Great for accounting, receipts, business card and stack of papers
  • Scans to cloud software like Evernote, Dropbox and Google Drive
  • Intuitive software with automatic file naming and document recognition system
  • Fast connectivity thanks to USB 3.0 – the scanner will read your commands quickly.
Bad
  • Cannot scan books, magazines or other odd objects (unless you unbind them)
  • Not suitable for highly delicate and worn out sheets – a paper jam can damage delicate documents
  • Does not offer WiFi – You will need to get the more expensive variant i.e Epson WorkForce ES-500W for WiFi.
  • Low Bit Depth makes it less suitable for photos and good color capturing.

Learn more about sheetfed scanners here.

3. Doxie Go SE – Portable and Mobile

One word that better describes this device is ‘convenience.’ The scanner is designed to be convenient, and it certainly serves the purpose.

Doxie Go comes with a lot of attractive features at a relatively low price.

While this isn’t the fastest scanner around with each scan taking 8 seconds, it’s portability makes it highly lucrative.

The scanner is battery powered and it is rechargeable with upto 400 scans per charge. It has an internal memory that scan store upto 4000 scans at a time. On to of that, this tiny scanner has OCR technology for creating editable scans.

While the quality of the scans is not that of professional level with only 600 DPI, it is quite reasonable for office/school documents or receipts.

It should be noted that since this is a portable scanner, it does not need to be connected to the PC for scanning purposes. Since it has an internal memory, all your scans will be stored.

All in all, if you want to bring the scanner to the documents instead of bring the documents to the scanner, then you need a portable scanner. In that regard, this is one of the best scanners for going paperless.

Check Out the Latest Price Here.

Good
  • Battery powered portable scanner that you can carry around.
  • Saves images within internal memory
  • Can be synchronized with cloud apps like Dropbox, OneNote etc
  • It can scan business cards and receipts
Bad
  • Does not offer Duplex (double sided) scanning
  • Low DPI means the scanning quality is average.
  • Not great for large organizations that have a huge scanning volume
  • No WiFi

4. Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300iCompact Scanner with ADF

While this isn’t a rechargeable or a stand alone scanner like the Doxie Go above. It has a features that we think set it apart.

For starters, this is also a highly compact scanner. It is small enough to be easily carried around in your backpack.

Besides that, this is a compact scanner that comes with an Automatic Document Feeder with 10 sheet capacity. This is great if you don’t want to manually feed each and every sheet.

On top of that, it is a duplex scanner. Therefore, it scans both sides of the documents in a single go.

The scanner has a speed of 12 scans per minute (double-sided). While this isn’t the fastest in this list. The ability to carry this scanner easily where ever you go can enhance your efforts to go paperless.

Check Out the Latest Price Here.

Good
  • Portable Sheetfed mechanism is much coveted
  • Duplex scanning in a portable scanning is a much welcome feature
  • Supports business card scanning
  • Can scan to cloud as well as directly to mobile devices
Bad
  • The ADF capacity of 10 sheets is fairly low
  • Expensive
  • It is not a cordless scanner. You will need the drivers installed in each computer that you are going to use it on.

5. CZUR ET16 Plus – Book & Document Scanner – A3 Scanning

This is the most expensive scanner in this list. However, it is also the most robust and technology-laden.

If you want to scan books, delicate documents, oversized documents, thick and uneven objects, then you can do so with this overhead scanner.

It can scan a 300 pages book in 10 minutes. On top of that, it comes with the auto-flatten technology that removes the curve/bulge in the center of the scanned books/magazine.

The scanner is operated with a single touch of a button and also with a foot pedal. This is an excellent scanner for archives, library etc where you have documents of varying size and condition.

Sure this isn’t your traditional sheetfed or flatbed scanner, however, as far as the ease of use goes, this is the most intuitive type of scanner.

Plus, this is wide format scanner. Therefore, it can scan upto A3 sized documents. If your attic is full of drawings or large documents, then you need a wide format scanner.

All in all, while this is quite expensive, however, if you want a robust solution then this is one of the best scanners for going paperless.

Check Out the Latest Price Here.

Good
  • Overhead scanner for scanning books, magazines, business cards and myriad of objects and documents
  • Wide format scanner – can scan upto A3 documents in size.
  • Curve flattening feature removes the center bulges in books and magazines.
Bad
  • Very expensive
  • No WiFi – albeit the more expensive CZUR 18 Pro offers WiFi as well as Cloud Storage.
  • Average color bit depth makes it less ideal for professional scans of photos and art pieces.
FAQ

FAQ

How to Go Paperless?

This video explains how to paperless and its benefits. Of course, you would definitely need a scanner.

Can You Use Your Cell Phone Instead?

CamScanner

CamScanner can turn your phone into a scanner

There are plenty of apps that essentially turn your smarphone into scanners.

Apps like CamScanner, Clear Scan etc are some of the highly rated scanning apps.

While these are great apps, you need to understand that you get what you pay for.

Sure you can use these apps for occassionals scanning jobs, but to scan thousands of papers and documents in an effort to go paperless would be a daunting task.

Scanning using phones is not only slow, but also prone to error. Not to mention, the scans done by phone are no where close to being high quality.

Of course the benefit here is obvious – apps are free to use.

Tips on Going Paperless

If you have decided to go Paperless, you can certainly use a few tips in making sure you are doing everything right.

1. Choose the Right Scanner

There are plethora of scanners out there. You need to choose the one that can facilitate your efforts.

Types of Scanner:

There are sheetfed, flatbed, portable, wand scanners etc.

Basically, we recommend you stick with either Sheetfed with Automatic Document Feeder or Portable scanners – depending upon your volume of scans.

We wouldn’t recommend Flatbed scanners because they are slow. If you have a huge archive of papers to scan you can imagine why flatbed scanners would be an issue.

Albeit we do recommend the likes of HP ScanJet Pro 2500 f1 that feature both Flatbed as well as Sheetfed scanner with ADF for scanning all sorts of documents.

Functions to Look for:

Some of the core functions and features that you may want to look out for in the best scanner for going paperless:

  • Speed – measures in pages per minute or images per minute. Sheetfed scanner like Epson Workforce ES-400 are the fastest scanners.
  • Scan to Cloud Feature – You want a scanner than synchronize your documents on your cloud service like Dropbox, Evernote etc so that you can easily retrieve it.
  • Business card and receipt reading support – If you are a business of any size, you must have loads of business cards and receipts that need digitizing.
  • WiFi / Mobility – If you want to take the scanner with you to different locations, then you either need a portable scanner or a WiFi capable scanner.

The rest of the features to look out for are mentioned below.

2. Keeping Yourself Organized

It is highly important to keep yourself organized if you are going to digitize thousands of documents.

For this you will need to decide on an easy to remember, intuitive and descriptive naming convention for your files and folders.

Naming convention also helps in searching for a certain scan through folders on computers quite easy.

naming convention

Naming Convention [Courtesy: ScanYourEntireLife.com]

This article has a great guide for choosing the right naming convention.

You will also need to make sure how and where you are going to save your scans:

  • Are you going to save your documents on your computer (Not Safe/Not Portable)
  • Are you gong to save your scan on an external harddisk (Not Safe/Yes Portable)
  • Perhaps you will use a Cloud Storage like Dropbox or Google Drive (Safer and Portable)

Whatever you choose, make sure you routinley BACK UP all your digital files.

How to Choose the Best Scanner If You are Going Paperless

If you are determined to make use of technology and want to go paperless, certain points should be well considered before you buy a scanner for this mighty task.

1. Handles All Types of Formats

It’s an important point, especially if you are going paperless. You might have all types of oddly shaped documents that you need to digitize: legal documents, client’s correspondence, receipts, normal documents, even business cards.

You should also make sure whether you have plenty of wide format drawings i.e of size A3 and above. If you want to digitze them as well, you will need specialized large format scanners that are quite expensive.

2. Flatbed or Sheetfed or Both

Epson 600

Epson 600 – A typical flatbed scanner – NOT RECOMMENDED FOR GOING PAPERLESS

We do not recommend the stand alone Flatbed scanner for going paperless.

Conventional flatbed scanners reuqire you to scan each and every document manually. You can tell that this would be a huge issue if you have a heap of documents.

Therefore, we either recommend sheetfed scanners like the Epson WorkForce ES-400 or Flatbed Scanner with ADF like the HP ScanJet Pro 2500.

The benefit of a scanner like HP ScanJet Pro is that it’s flatbed can allow you to scan books, magazines, newspapers etc while its ADF can allow you to bulk scan normal documents at high speeds.

3. Scanning Sides – Duplex Scanning

While going paperless, you might have documents that need to be scanned from both sides.

In that case, a duplex scanner is more suitable. Simplex scanners can only read from one side of the document.

4. Scanning Speed

Speed can be a deciding factor if you have an attic full of documents that you need to digitize. Surely, a fast-paced device would be time-saving and more convenient for the job.

Dedicated Sheetfed scanners like the Epson WorkForce ES-400 are the fastest scanners around.

5. Resolution

As a rule of thumb, the best scanners for going paperless is the one with a high dpi, however, higher the dpi, the more expensive it would be.

A higher DPI is a more useful consideration when you are scanning art pieces and photos that too at a professional level. This is because higher the DPI the more detail the scanner will capture. For office documents. receipts, a lower DPI would do just fine.

Therefore, if you are an artists/photographer, you may need to keep this aspect in mind.

6. OCR Technology

Goes without saying, if you need a scanner for documents it must feature OCR technology. Optical character recognition (OCR) works with the scanner to convert the printed characters of your document into digital text.

Finding and editing your documents will be easy if they are saved as text files. Most of the latest scanners come with integrated OCR software.

You can learn more about OCR technology here.

7. Duty Cycle

Duty cycle is the manufacturer’s rating that gives an idea of how many pages per day a scanner is designed to handle. You might want to check it and choose the one that meets your requirement.

8. Connectivity

Most scanners connect directly with the computer via a USB port. However, if you are looking for scanners with Network Capabilities such as WiFi, Bluetooth then you need to be ready to pay more.

WiFi capable scanners are almost always more expensive than their vanilla counterparts. For Example, Epson WorkForce ES 400 has a WiFi capable counterpart the ES 500. However, it is more expensive.

9. Other Useful Built In Technologies

Some of the other additional features that you may like to have in your scanner are:

  • Auto-size detection
  • Multi-feed detection
  • Auto-skew detection
  • Scan To Cloud

Conclusion

Here we looked at the best scanners for going paperless. We looked at various type of scanners with varying capability and features. Some were fast, others were portable.

All in all, for us, the best scanner in this categoty is the HP ScanJet Pro 2500. We think it is an all rounder scanner capable of scanning a wide range of documents at a fairly fast speed.

We also find Epson WorkForce ES 400 as a great option for those who are looking for speed alone.